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Oklahoma City Thunder: OKC's not-so-secret weapon has been reincarnated

More and more, the read-and-react chemistry between Kevin Martin and Nick Collison is growing into a gorgeous set and resembling the rhythm once shared by Collison and former sixth man James Harden.
by Darnell Mayberry Published: February 23, 2013

Collison and Martin have been so good working the two-man game that Collison leads the team with a 7.9 assist-to-bad pass ratio, according to

“His basketball IQ is very high, so he knows when to do something and when not to do something,” Martin said. “There were a couple of times when I cut and he didn't throw the ball because he knows he shouldn't have. He doesn't force anything. He's just a high IQ basketball player.”

Having previous partners, Martin said, has helped him and Collison develop chemistry quicker.

“He gave me a couple of unbelievable passes in the past two to three weeks that I thought it was Brad,” Martin joked. “Because it's just passes that you don't think that's there, that can get through. But somehow he got it through.”

Much like Harden and Collison showed, the two-man game still can be successful even after it pops up on every opponent scouting report. Martin, who ranks third on the team in scoring with a 15-point average, said it's a result of having several options.

“I can dribble off, I can throw it to (Collison), he can throw it off to Reggie and come down and set a screen, I can go backdoor,” Martin said. “There's just so many things you can do when you're playing with another player besides just playing by yourself.

“We just read each other well. We talk about it a lot and it's becoming critical in our second unit.”

Thunder coach Scott Brooks said Collison and fellow big man Kendrick Perkins both have good hands and good instincts that make them well suited to set up perimeter players for points.

“They have a good feel for the game,” Brooks said.

It's helped to bring needed offensive balance to a Thunder squad that sometimes has a tendency to sit back and rely on its All-Star duo of Durant and Russell Westbrook to make spectacular plays.

“We're just trying to work on areas of our offense where we can have different guys make plays,” Brooks said. “It doesn't always have to be Russell and KD. Our bigs, Perk and Nick, they can handle the ball and pass from a few areas of the floor that we've been working on.

“It's just something that we have to build our team on because we know that Kevin and Russell will always be there to give us plays. But it's nice to have some other guys that are able to make plays.”