OKLAHOMA CITY -- That three-point shot Darren Collison hit to send Thursday's Dallas Mavericks-Oklahoma City Thunder game into overtime turned out to be the No. 1 on ESPN's Top 10.
It was an extremely awkward one-legged trey that Collison connected with at the buzzer to tie the game at 98-98 and stun the sellout crowd at Chesapeake Energy Arena. And, as Collison admitted, the play wasn't planned.
"It was just prayer,'' Collison said after the Thunder beat the Mavs in overtime, 111-105. "I honestly didn't think it was going in, but I've made a couple of those floating three-pointers before.
"I'm just thankful that it went in. It gave us a chance for overtime.''
Collison, who tallied a season-high 32 points, said "by far (the play) wasn't'' drawn on the blackboard.' But the game, overall, showed Collison's ability to attack the basket at will and also drill a few jumpers.
"This is how I was in the beginning of the season _ I was attacking,'' Collison said. "I always told myself if I get this opportunity again, try to go back to my old ways and just continue to attack.
"I've been in the gym for the last couple of months on the grind. It's about haivng the opportunity to go out there and showcase it.''
Collison showcased his playmaking skills so well that coach Rick Carlisle said he is now the Mavs' starting point guard. Collison was 13-of-22 from the field, including 4-of-4 from three-point terrritory.
"Collison was terrific, really,'' 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.''
As usual, Collison was humbled by Carlisle's comment. But he knows there's more work to be done, since the Mavs did lose the game to the Thinder.
"I've just got to help my team win from here,'' Collison said. "The starting point guard is judged on his team winning.
"It doesn't really mean anything unless you don't get the job done. So I'm focused on just trying to get the job done.''
-- Dwain Price
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