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Clippers' Stephen Jackson never lost hope of returning to NBA

Veteran forward plays first game in the league since being released by San Antonio in April. He doesn't score against Boston but is thrilled to be back.

December 11, 2013|By Broderick Turner

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BOSTON — While working out in San Antonio, Stephen Jackson said he got a call from Clippers assistant coach Tyronn Lue three weeks ago telling the free-agent swing man that Los Angeles had interest in him.

On Tuesday night, Jackson arrived in Boston and signed a contract, and Wednesday night he was playing in a game with the Clippers against the Celtics.

Jackson checked into the game with 2 minutes 17 seconds left in the first quarter, his first NBA game since April 6, when he played for the San Antonio Spurs, who released the veteran before the playoffs.

Jackson missed all three of his shots in just over 12 minutes on the court.

"I was definitely winded," Jackson said. "But the game will come. I've been doing this a long time."

With rookie small forward Reggie Bullock (sprained left ankle) going down Saturday in Cleveland and with J.J. Redick (right hand injury) and backup small forward Matt Barnes (eye surgery) all out, the Clippers needed another small forward to back up starter Jared Dudley.

Jackson, who averaged 15.3 points and made 33.4% of his three-point shots over his career, said he never doubted he'd return to the NBA.

He signed a veteran minimum contract worth $1.3 million that will be prorated.

"I knew it would happen," Jackson said. "I just didn't know when. My faith is unbelievable. My confidence in myself is unbelievable. I played the game 12 [actually 13] years. I played the game the right way. It's not too many people who play the game harder than me.

"So I knew the way I approached the game and appreciated the game, I knew they would bring me back one day. I couldn't say I knew it was going to be the Clippers."

Antawn Jamison reaches milestone

When Clippers forward Antawn Jamison made a three-pointer with 9:21 left in the second quarter, it gave him 20,000 points over his 16-year career.

It meant that Jamison is one of 20 players in NBA history with at least 20,000 points, 8,000 rebounds and 1,000 assists.

Jamison joined Kevin Garnett, Tim Duncan and Dirk Nowitzki as the only active players to accomplish the feat.

"It hasn't hit me yet," Jamison said. "I guess when I get a chance to sit back and collect my thoughts, it'll really hit me."

Twitter: @BA_Turner

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