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Nick Collison — or is it Collision? — wore down Memphis' Zach Randolph

by Berry Tramel Modified: May 12, 2011 at 1:15 am •  Published: May 12, 2011

Nick Collison met Zach Randolph at the free-throw line. Well, met is not the right word.

Met evokes gentility and courtesy. A country squire introducing himself to a lady at a ball.

This was no meeting. This was a collision. Nick Collison? Nick Collision is more like it. Collison accosted Randolph, Grizzly possession after Grizzly possession.

Which is why this was a grisly game for Memphis. The Thunder routed the Grizzlies 99-72 Wednesday to take command of a Western Conference semifinal that 11 days ago seemed mightily perilous for the Boomers.

“I wanted to be the first one downcourt,” Collison said. “Meet him at the free-throw line. Start doing my work early.”

Randolph had taken apart the stately Spurs and seemed intent on doing the same to the Thunder.

Game 1: 34 points on 12-of-22 shooting.

But Game 5: Nine points on 3-of-9 shooting. After shooting 2-of-13, 8-of-22 and 9-of-25 in Games 2 through 4.

That's 31.9 shooting for Randolph in four games paramount to the Thunder season. For comparison sake, stone hands Kendrick Perkins is shooting 46.7 percent those same four games.

Memphis can't win without Randolph scoring big. Just not enough scoring. Not enough shotmakers on the outside. The Grizzlies live in the paint, and Nick Collision and his behemoth buddies have commandeered the paint.

It's hard for the Grizzlies to win even with Randolph scoring big, if he has to shoot a ton to get a ton.

“The whole goal of a possession is to make his catches farther out on the floor,” Collison said. “Let him catch it on the block, it's a nightmare.”

The guy who beat up the Thunder in Game 1 is now getting beat up. And Wednesday night, Randolph even threw in the towel.

“As the game wore on, they got more physical,” said Memphis coach Lionel Hollins. “He got fouled a couple of times and nothing was called. I think he just wanted to get back, the way they were pounding and overplaying.

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by Berry Tramel
Berry Tramel, a lifelong Oklahoman, sports fan and newspaper reader, joined The Oklahoman in 1991 and has served as beat writer, assistant sports editor, sports editor and columnist. Tramel grew up reading four daily newspapers — The Oklahoman,...
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