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Q&A with Thunder's Nick Collison: ‘We just picked it up and played smarter'

BY BERRY TRAMEL Published: May 15, 2011
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The Grizzlies made five of their first 10 shots, then you came into the game and Memphis went 5-of-22. What happened?

Collison: “We just picked it up. We did a good job helping off on the right guys and clogging the paint and making it tough for their inside guys. We did a good job on (O.J.) Mayo tonight. We just picked it up and played smarter.”

How do you feel about now going from guarding Zach Randolph to guarding Dirk Nowitzki?

Collison: “Zach's difficult. He's a load in there. He's physical. You have to be ready the entire possession with him. He gets the ball in duck-ins, he gets the ball in postups. I think he averages seven or eight points a game on offensive rebounds. You have to play the whole 24 seconds against him, and that's tough over a seven-game series. The guy who's guarding him, we tried to keep him off the block as much as possible. The guys we could help off of, we tried to sit in his lap. He still scored, we knew he would. Next series, Nowitzki's a change of pace. More of a perimeter guy. Those are two of the toughest guys in the league.”

Could you tell early that Kevin Durant was getting into the game?

Collison: “I knew he would come out and be aggressive. The thing that he's learned, in order for him to play well, he needs to do his work early and get the ball in spots where he can score ... cutting harder, setting up his man off screens better. He did that tonight. Last game, offensively, we weren't executing. He wasn't able to get open. He did a much better job tonight.”

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