OKC Thunder notebook: Nick Collison soars as Thunder's top shooter

By John Rohde, Staff Writer, jrohde@opubco.com Published: April 11, 2012

The Thunder shot poorly in its 100-98 loss Wednesday night to the Los Angeles Clippers at Chesapeake Energy Arena, and that even included reserve forward Nick Collison.

OKC shot 40.8 percent from the field and Collison went 0 for 3.

Entering the game, Collison was the best shooter (.626) on the league's best shooting team (.475). Collison has become so efficient, he's starting to take some grief.

“I think he's shooting too many times now,” Thunder coach Scott Brooks deadpanned. “I think he's feeling his oats. He's making shots.”

Collison and sixth man James Harden have become an effective combination on pick-and-rolls and ball screens.

“It's weird, I don't even follow Nick's game offensively other than when he makes plays for James because he has a great feel for what we do with that second group,” Brooks said. “He can shoot. Nick was a big-time scorer in college. He kind of gets lost in the shuffle with all our scorers, but he can finish around the rim, he does a great job of catching passes around the basket and finishing and he can hit the 18-to-19 foot jump shot.”

Harden joked of Collison: “I yelled at him one time for shooting the ball. We have that relationship to where we can yell at each other.”

OLYMPIC HOPEFUL

Last January, USA Basketball chose Thunder teammates Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook to be among 20 finalists for the 2012 U.S. Olympic men's basketball team. Harden said he hopes someday also to be considered for Team USA.

“Yeah, definitely,” Harden said Wednesday. “That goes with hard work, though. Winning (and) hard work takes care of everything. Your name gets mentioned and those great achievements or accomplishments (come) when you're a winner and your production is high. As long as I'm doing (what I am) right now — being productive and winning basketball games — that takes care of itself.”

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