Nick Collison, Markieff Morris double up on Sunday
Nick Collison (Oklahoma City Thunder) put on a “dunk exhibition” on Sunday night, in the words of San Antonio Spurs beat writer Jeff McDonald. Collison notched a season-high 12 points and 10 rebounds as the Thunder beat the Spurs, 108-96. He also added two assists in 21 minutes (full stats here).
And those dunks? From the Oklahoman’s Darnell Mayberry:
Collison recorded his first double-double of the season tonight, and he can thank Matt Bonner. Collison absolutely abused Bonner on the offensive end, torching him for eight of his 10 points in a 2 minute, 14 second span early in the second quarter. Spurs coach Gregg Popovich couldn’t yank Bonner quick enough.
Mayberry then goes on to say:
Remember that game against San Antonio last year where Bonner killed the Thunder from 3? The Thunder just learned that its best defense for Bonner is Collison’s offense.
Nick Collison: even his offense plays defense.
Columnist Berry Tramel (also of the Oklahoman) wrote a nice piece on Collison and how the vet has been able to play more aggressively this season. If you have a few minutes, give it a read.
And, last but not least, the highlights (at :30 and :45):
- Markieff Morris (Phoenix Suns) registered his first double-double of his NBA career on Sunday against the Milwaukee Bucks. Markieff tallied 13 points (5 of 10, 3 of 4 threes) and 10 rebounds in 29 minutes as the Suns beat the Bucks, 109-93. Markieff set a new high for assists (three) and had two blocked shots, a steal and no turnovers (full stats here). Even more encouraging was Markieff’s foul total — one. He had at least two in every game this season and at least three in every game where he played 16 minutes or more.
Markieff’s three triples puts his long-range shooting at 12 for 21 (57 percent!) on the season. Coming into Sunday’s games, his 53 percent was ninth best in the entire league. (Side note: right behind Markieff, in 10th? Brandon Rush of the Golden State Warriors, who has shot 11 for 21, or 52.4 percent.)
Markieff’s highlights from Sunday (at :36 and 1:08):
- Cole Aldrich (Oklahoma City Thunder) saw some playing time for the fifth time in the Thunder’s 10 games this season. He subbed in for fellow Jayhawk Nick Collison with 6:56 left in the fourth quarter and, after losing the ball, rattled off six points, a rebound, a block and an assist (full stats here). Aldrich’s six points — a putback dunk, a layup and a hook shot — made him Oklahoma City’s leading scorer in the quarter.
Before the game, Thunder coach Scott Brooks spoke a bit about how he plans to use Aldrich and the rest of the OKC reserves this season. You can read his quotes on the official Thunder website.
- Drew Gooden (Milwaukee Bucks) again started at center for the Bucks on Sunday, but he played just 18 minutes against the Phoenix Suns and scored eight points on 3 for 12 shooting (including a nice fake and dunk in the first quarter). Gooden, who had at least 18 points and nine rebounds in the previous three games, added six rebounds, three assists and a steal (full stats here). The Bucks lost, 109-93, to the Suns, who raced out to a big lead in the third quarter. Gooden did not play in the fourth.
Milwaukee starting center Andrew Bogut, who missed his fourth game in a row on Sunday, is expected back soon, according to his manager. The Bucks play the San Antonio Spurs on Tuesday.
- Josh Selby (Memphis Grizzlies) picked up another “did not play — coach’s decision” on Sunday night against the Los Angeles Lakers (game stats here). Selby has played in just four of the Grizzlies’ eight games this season.
Greg Ostertag (NBA D-League - Texas Legends) played three minutes but did not record any statistics on Sunday (game stats here). Ostertag’s minutes have declined since the Dallas Mavericks assigned center Sean Williams (35 minutes) and forward Yi Jianlian (37 minutes) to the Legends.
Brady Morningstar (NBA D-League - Tulsa 66ers) scored 14 points with a team-high five assists on Sunday. Morningstar added a rebound, a steal and a three to his 6 of 9 shooting in 37 minutes (full stats here).
Sherron Collins (Turkish Basketball League - Hacettepe University - Turkey) scored just two points (1 of 6 shooting) but added five assists, a steal and a rebound in 26 minutes on Sunday (full stats here). Collins will play again on Jan. 14.
The Chicago Tribune caught up with former Bulls guard Kirk Hinrich in Atlanta on Saturday. Hinrich talked about his injuries woes in 2011, including a cringe-inducing shoulder injury and a scary scar on his eye. You can read the interview here. (hat tip to wissoxfan83 for pointing it out in the comments of yesterday’s blog)
Fox Sports’ Randy Hill wrote a nice profile on Markieff Morris (Phoenix Suns) for Saturday.
"He's a real intelligent player," (Phoenix coach Alvin) Gentry said of his rookie four man, "especially for a rookie ... almost too intelligent sometimes."
That means Morris occasionally peaks around the bend in his learning curve before the coaching staff has time to install the training wheels.
- KUSports.com commenter jhawkrulz asked if Markieff Morris (Phoenix Suns) might be in the discussion for the 2012 Rookie of the Year award. While it’s certainly a possibility at this point (he’s only played eight of 66 games so far), the early buzz has centered around point guards Ricky Rubio and Kyrie Irving. BUT, Scouts Inc.’s David Thorpe ranked Markieff as the No. 3 rookie in his “Rookie Watch” on Friday. The next step for Markieff, according to Thorpe?
Now he needs to focus on not being just a shooter in order to become an effective starting-level talent in this league. Morris is such a good shooter that it would be easy -- and wrong -- to look only for pick-and-pop 3s. He has to find a way to bang inside for a bucket or a foul. He's a big, strong man who is a much better low-post scorer than many people realize. So he needs to take advantage of it.
You can read the whole article at ESPN.com (Insider subscription required).
Jayhawks in upcoming NBA games
None! Enjoy the BCS title game.
7 p.m., Drew Gooden and the Milwaukee Bucks vs. the San Antonio Spurs
7 p.m., Nick Collison and Cole Aldrich and the Oklahoma City Thunder vs. Josh Selby and the Memphis Grizzlies
9:30 p.m., NBATV, Markieff Morris and the Phoenix Suns vs. the Los Angeles Lakers
9:30 p.m., Mario Chalmers and the Miami Heat vs. Brandon Rush and the Golden State Warriors