Three former Jayhawks sent 2011 out in style on Saturday in Oklahoma City. Nick Collison, Cole Aldrich and Markieff Morris all played minutes as Collison and Aldrich’s Oklahoma City Thunder took on Markieff’s Phoenix Suns.
Markieff led the trio — and his team — with 15 points (5-8 shooting, 3-4 threes ... one banked in with the shot clock winding down, 2-3 free throws), the best offensive performance of his young career. Markieff added six rebounds, an assist and a block and looked comfortable in 15 minutes — most of which came in garbage time during the fourth quarter of the Thunder victory.
Collison played his usual role off the Thunder bench and scored 11 points with four rebounds and a block in 19 minutes. The Thunder official site also cited Collison for four “plays the boxscore won’t show.”
And Aldrich, who subbed in for Collison with six minutes left in the fourth, had two points (off of a nice alley-oop) and two rebounds as he played out the rest of the game (full game stats here).
Brandon Rush (Golden State Warriors) didn’t do much with the extra minutes opened up by the absence of Warriors star Monta Ellis on Saturday. Rush scored only four points with two rebounds, two assists, a steal and a block in almost 32 minutes (full stats here). Rush’s teammates had off-nights too (only two players scored in double figures) as the Warriors lost to the Philadelphia 76ers by 28 points.
Marcus Morris (Houston Rockets) continued his slide down the Rockets’ bench. After playing less than seven minutes in each of his last three games, Marcus registered a “did not play - coach’s decision” on Saturday (game box score here).
Nick Collison: “No texting and driving. That's my biggest one. (Basketball-wise) do better with leads late in games. That would probably be the biggest one for us — to build leads or keep leads.”
Cole Aldrich: “My thing is I don't ever do resolutions because what's the point of doing something at the beginning of the year when you can do it any other time? I could start doing whatever any other time of the year.”
During the NBA lockout, Julian filled his free time by revisiting a couple old hobbies — writing poetry and recording music. He’s still doing a bit of both, and you can read about those side-projects here or let “Jay Midi” (the artist formerly known as Julian Wright) tell you himself:
(And just because I enjoyed it, here’s a not-so-timely link to Jay Midi’s rendition of “Jingle Bells,” which I should have posted last week.)
Sunday, Jan. 1 (Happy New Year)
5 p.m., NBATV, Paul Pierce and the Boston Celtics vs. the Washington Wizards
5 p.m., Mario Chalmers and the Miami Heat vs. the Charlotte Bobcats
7 p.m., Josh Selby and the Memphis Grizzlies vs. the Chicago Bulls