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.”
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.”
Harden said he didn't expect to be considered for the 2012 Olympic team. Durant and Westbrook were members of the gold medal team at the 2010 FIBA Championships, which all but secured invitations as finalists. Durant was named MVP.
“I'm still young and have a couple of years to make a name for myself,” Harden said. “I'll be all right.”
The official 12-man U.S. Olympic team roster will be announced later this year.
In addition to leading the league in field-goal percentage, the Thunder also entered Wednesday's game leading the NBA in free-throw percentage (.801) and will retain the top spot after converting 24 for 27 (.889).
The Clippers shot even better at the free-throw line, making 19 of 21 (.905), including 14 for 14 in the third quarter alone.
In the second half, the teams shot a combined 26 for 27 (.963) from the line.
Durant will join children from the Chickasaw Nation on Thursday for a special Youth Basketball Clinic. The event is part of Durant's outreach to the Native American community.
The Thunder (42-16) hosts Sacramento at 7 p.m. on Friday and then leaves on a five-game road trip to Minnesota, the L.A. Clippers, Phoenix, Sacramento and the L.A. Lakers.
Brooks on why the Thunder lost to the Clippers: “We didn't have it offensively. We had a number of shots roll in and out around the basket. I thought defensively, though, that's where we always excel. It wasn't quite there tonight in the way it has been and the way it needs to be.”