BY MIKE BALDWIN Modified: April 13, 2010 at 3:53 pm •  Published: March 9, 2010

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uot;It’s all about being tough, and that’s what Nick is. He’s gifted. He has a nice body to take that pounding.”

Jeff Green said all players improve at taking charging with experience, which is why Kevin Ollie and Etan Thomas have taken nearly as many charging fouls as many of the five starters despite limited playing time.

"I don’t know if a lot of fans realize what Nick brings to the table, throwing his body out there,” Green said. "First and foremost, he has the courage to take those charges. Nick’s been in the league eight years. He knows the game, knows (defensive) rotations. He’s our energy guy. He gives us a big boost.”

Brooks said Collison’s willingness to take a charge provides momentum similar to a slam dunk.

"He likes it in his own crazy way,” Brooks said. "It gets him juiced up. It he gets one it gets him fired up to get two in a row. He’s probably the best I’ve ever been around. Ten years from now when he’s close to retiring, he’ll be doing the same thing.”

Collison said Oklahoma City’s improved defense has played a role in him leading the league.

"I’ve always been decent at it, but I’ve gotten better this year,” Collison said. "Since our team defense is a lot better, you can anticipate drives better. If there’s bad defense, there are random drives where you can’t get there in time. Plus, experience. I’m just figuring it out better.”

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