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Thunder notebook: Nick Collison's shots at redemption

By John Rohde and Berry Tramel, Staff Writers Published: May 20, 2011

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."

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