OKLAHOMA CITY -- Darren Collison started the first 14 games of the season at point guard for the Dallas Mavericks, then got benched because of his poor play.
But after the way he played Thursday night against the Oklahoma City Thunder, Collison has earned his starting spot back again.
In one of his best games of his career, Collison poured in a season-high 32 points, grabbed five rebounds, handed our four assists and collected four steals during the Mavs' 111-105 overtime loss to the Thunder.
"Collison was terrific, really,'' coach Rick Carlisle said. "Tremendous on both ends, and the way he played tonight is what we need from him just in terms of his presence in the game, his
aggressiveness at both ends of the court.
"He just had a great impact, and I'm not even talking about the points scored necessarily, although that's a part of it, certainly.''
Carlisle likes the way Collison controlled the ball and the Mavs' offense.
""I'm into presence, and he had it tonight,'' Carlisle said. "At this point he's our starting guy.'
Asked if he thought he did enough Thursday to be declared the Mavs' starting point guard, Collison said: "'Why you ask that question? I''m just out here just trying to play my game.
"If I get an opportunity like I did tonight, I'm going to just play my game.''
Dominique Jones and Rodrigue Beaubois are the other point guards battling Collison for the starting job. Beaubois didn't play Thursday because of a stomach illness, and Jones had six points and three assists in 13 minutes off the bench.
-- Dwain Price
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