Oklahoma City reserve power forward Nick Collison had an adventurous fourth quarter in Game 2 of the Western Conference Finals on Thursday night in Dallas.
Until fouling out, Collison guarded Mavericks power forward Dirk Nowitzki, giving up 16 points on 7-of-10 shooting.
Collison also missed two foul shots with 1:19 left and the Thunder up 102-96. Collison foolishly fouled Nowitzki beyond the 3-point arc with 36.7 seconds left, with the Thunder leading 104-98.
"I was too far off of him, so you react and try to challenge the shot," Collison explained. "Usually, when you get pump-faked, it's out of desperation because you're playing from behind. The mistake I made is I should have been closer to him and I got caught staring at the ball. If I had been there on the catch, I would have been fine. You don't ever want to foul a jump shooter."
Collison also made some huge plays. His left-handed dunk off a Kevin Durant miss gave the Thunder an 82-78 lead. Collison made two key defensive plays on Nowitzki within a 70-second span inside the five-minute mark, a blocked shot and a steal. Finally, Collison nailed two foul shots after his two misses, giving OKC a 104-98 lead with 47.8 seconds left.
Collison said he took some extra time on the second set of foul shots. "I didn't rush them," he said. "I'm really happy I got another chance."
Thunder coach Scott Brooks said, "Nick has a lot of heart. He deserves to make those shots. He just does so many good things for us, you would hate to have him feel bad if he missed two more of those free throws."
Dallas center Tyson Chandler had a big Game 2 — 15 points, 10 rebounds — after denying he had a "history" with Thunder center Kendrick Perkins. Perkins had said he and Chandler don't like each other.
Chandler talked some smack on Perkins after a couple of dunks.
"I didn't say anything," Perkins said. "He was, but you know, they (the officials) let that ride."
TOE THE LINE
The Thunder easily led the league in free-throw percentage this season at 82.3 percent, which is the fifth-highest team percentage in NBA history.
Thanks to Nowitzki going 33 for 34, the Mavericks have outshot OKC in each of the first two games and are shooting 91.7 percent (55 for 60) to the Thunder's 84.1 percent (58 for 69). Dallas shot 77.7 percent from the line in the regular season.
For this entire postseason, OKC leads the league at 81.2 percent to 81.1 percent for the Mavs.
KEEP YOUR COOL
Despite playing the entire fourth quarter and 20 total minutes in a nerve-wracking Western Conference Finals game, Thunder reserve point guard Eric Maynor maintained his composure and did not commit a turnover.
"You've just got to keep your emotions under control at all times. Never get too high. Never get too low," Maynor said matter-of-factly.
The Mavericks have sold out 54 straight playoff games and 399 games total at the American Airlines Center. Dallas owns the longest active regular-season sellout streak in the NBA, having sold out all 41 home games the past seven seasons.