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News » THUNDER 109, BULLS 98, OT 2009-01-14

THUNDER 109, BULLS 98, OT 2009-01-14

THUNDER 109, BULLS 98, OT 2009-01-14
CHICAGO - Nick Collison's healing left thumb looked just fine Saturday night.

The Thunder power forward scored 21 points with nine rebounds and four assists to lead the Thunder to a 109-98 overtime victory over the Chicago Bulls at the United Center.

It was Collison's best all-around performance of the season and can be considered a much-needed pick-me-up in what's been a roller coaster of a season.

Collison has struggled with injuries and inconsistency since the preseason. But against former Kansas teammate Drew Gooden on Saturday, Collison looked stellar, finishing plays with dunks, forcing steals on defense and protecting the rim against a Bulls lineup filled with drive-happy guards.

"That's who he is," said Thunder coach Scott Brooks. "He's an energy, effort and good teammate guy every game. That's how he plays. He wants to help his teammates throughout the game."

Led by Collison's effort, the Thunder moved to 6-32, notching only its second road win of the season after out-rebounding the Bulls 59-37.

Collison missed six of the past seven games after breaking a bone in his left thumb in late December. But he said the injury is healing.

"It's really not painful unless I get hit, and then it's just something that's there for a minute or two and goes away," Collison said. "The hardest thing is I have to wear a splint, which makes it hard to do much with my left hand. But it's not too bad. It's better than I thought it would be."

Said Brooks, "Nick was playing Nick Collison Basketball before he hurt his thumb. But he's come back like he never got hurt. He gives energy and effort every game and he makes sure his teammates get good shots."

Collison had a tough test in Gooden, who scored 20 points with 12 rebounds in 40 minutes. Gooden took advantage of Collison in the fourth quarter, scoring 12 points on five of seven shooting in the period.

Collison then responded with five points, three rebounds and one big assists to Jeff Green to put the Thunder up seven with 2:15 remaining in overtime.

"He always comes up big," said Kevin Durant. "He does whatever coach tells him to do, whether it's rebounding or scoring. He fought all night with Drew Gooden so it was a tough battle for him but he came out and played well. That's what we need for him every night."

Author: Fox Sports
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Added: January 14, 2009


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