NICK IN CHARGEPerhaps Nick Collison’s ability to take charges has become infectious. Center Nenad Krstic took one Wednesday night against New Jersey. “Nick gives up his body for his team every night,” Brooks said. “He makes it look like it’s not a big deal. He just gets up, but they hurt — 220-pound athletes are coming full-speed at you. He just gets up.” Collison took another charge on Friday night and now has 22 charges in 25 games. Brooks said one of his favorite plays of the season came Nov. 14 against San Antonio. It was Collison’s first game of the season because of a leg injury and he drew a charge during his first shift of play. “Nick is charge-taking machine,” Brooks said. “He loves that. Be glad that he’s on your team because he sets great screens and takes charges. Guys have big respect for Nick. Nick is always about the team. They like Nick, they like what he’s about.”
BABY STEPSTo welcome newborns in 2011, Rumble the Thunder mascot is scheduled to visit some of new arrivals and present families with a Thunder newborn kit today. Each kit includes newborn hand warmers, bootees, a hat, bib, blanket, certificate and a Thunder frame. The Thunder also will provide a newborn kit to every baby delivered at Integris Baptist Medical Center for the entire year. In 2010, the center delivered 2,539 babies and averaged 48-50 babies per week. The Thunder will provide an estimated 2,600 kits this year.
BRYANT RITUALIn what has become a pregame ritual roughly an hour before tipoff, Thunder assistant coach Mark Bryant takes three back-to-the-basket, over-the-head shots from the corner, behind the 3-point line just in front of the Thunder bench. If Bryant makes it before the third attempt, he walks away. If he misses all three attempts, he tries again the next game. “Since I’ve been playing, I’ve always done that,” said Bryant, a Seton Hall product who played 15 seasons (1988-2003) in the NBA. “Before I would run in before the game, I would grab a ball and try to fling it up real quick.” Bryant is surprisingly accurate with the shot. It’s not unusual to see him bury a bucket while fans near the bench “ooh” and “ahh” at what they just witnessed. Now, Bryant can’t stop. “It’s just that superstitious-type thing going on. I just have to do it,” Bryant said. “I don’t like when I make it, though, because I don’t think we have a good outcome when I make it. Sometimes I don’t even like doing it because I don’t want to make it, but I’ve been doing it forever.”
BRIEFLYPrior to facing Atlanta, the Thunder was 10-4 against Eastern Conference teams this season and 12-6 at home. … Durant and Westbrook remain the highest-scoring tandem in the league (50.4). That was exactly Wilt Chamberlain’s scoring average in 1961-62. … The Thunder is 8-1 in game in which Thabo Sefolosha scores in double figures. By John Rohde and Darnell Mayberry
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