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Collison Emerging As Dynamic Force

by Conrad Brunner || Caught in the Web Archive

January 12, 2011

With more room to operate in the small lineup and a productive pick-and-roll partner in Tyler Hansbrough, Darren Collison is starting to emerge as the dynamic force we've all been anticipating.

Consider his productivity in the Pacers' back-to-back wins over Philadelphia and Dallas: 38 points, 17 assists, six steals, three turnovers and 14-of-24 shooting (.583). And this against two tough matchups, his former UCLA teammate Jrue Holiday and one of the best of all-time, Jason Kidd.

If the Pacers are starting to turn the corner offensively – and consecutive games over 100 points for the first time since November are a pretty strong indicator in the affirmative – Collison has been a key figure with his obvious comfort with the small lineup.

"I think it has a lot to do with spacing the court," said Jim O'Brien. "In both Danny (Granger)'s case and Darren's case, when you have 3-point shooters around all of them then I think their productivity is going to increase. In the period of time we've been running the small lineup we've gotten very, very fine productivity out of that small lineup."

Hansbrough's presence in the starting lineup has been a big help, as well, because his ability to hit the mid-range jumper makes the pick-and-pop a major weapon. The strength of Collison's game is the pick-and-roll game and Hansbrough has helped that rise to the surface.

"We've been playing more and more pick-and-rolls lately," said Collison, "and when Tyler is hitting that 15-footer, it makes it a lot easier for myself and for everybody else because the other team's got to pick one."

With Collison emerging and Brandon Rush and Mike Dunleavy showing signs of regaining their rhythms, the offense just might be well on the way back.