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Thunder 88, Timberwolves 85: Thunder earns first win

BY MIKE BALDWIN Modified: November 3, 2008 at 10:56 am •  Published: November 3, 2008
Nick Collison’s value goes beyond the stat sheet — even on a night he posts a double-double.

Collison’s driving left-handed, four-foot hook shot with 16.4 seconds left gave Oklahoma City a 3-point cushion Sunday night at the Ford Center. On the defensive end Collison grabbed his 10th rebound to help Oklahoma City escape with an 88-85 win over Minnesota, the first win in Thunder history.

"This is huge,” Collison said. "No matter how much the coach says you’re doing a good job, or you’re improving, it doesn’t mean much to players unless you win. It always sucks to go home after a loss no matter how well you play. Wins change everything.”

Rookie guard Russell Westbrook sparked a late third-quarter rally that was instrumental in the win. But Collison also played a key role, collecting 10 points and 10 rebounds. Seven of his rebounds were on the offensive end which allowed OKC to dominate the boards (50-38) and attempt 11 more field goals.

"That’s something I’m pretty good at, kind of my thing,” Collison said. "The first two games I was just a step slow. I got my hands on a few balls but couldn’t come up with them. Sometimes I feel I get in rebounding slumps like people get in shooting slumps. Some of it is luck, too. The ball just comes your way.”

Hustle, though, isn’t luck. Collison dived for loose balls at least five times.

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