NBA Summer League: Clippers 88, Hornets 86

Tuesday, July 14, 2009
By: Jim Eichenhofer,

Over his four seasons at UCLA, point guard Darren Collison was surrounded by an array of talented scorers. Collison’s primary job with the Bruins was to distribute the ball, making sure the likes of eventual NBA first-round picks Russell Westbrook, Kevin Love and Jrue Holiday were able to thrive.

With a career average of 11.5 points in college, Collison’s individual scoring ability may not be considered a major strength. However, through two NBA Summer League games, the 6-foot point guard has shown that his offensive game could prove to be a bit underrated.

After a quiet two-point first half tonight, Collison racked up 21 second-half points for a team-best 23-point outing vs. the Clippers. Fellow 2009 draftee Marcus Thornton had a similar performance, tallying 15 points in the latter half and totaling 19 points.

Collison was 7-for-14 from the field and drained all of his nine foul shots. That latter stat was no fluke: as a senior at UCLA, he shot 89.7 percent from the charity stripe.

“(I was) attacking every time,” Collison said of his eruption in the second half. “That’s what Byron Scott and our coaching staff has been telling me, to attack at will. (Scott) doesn’t care if you make mistakes that are aggressive, as long as you’re attacking.”

Julian Wright was the only other New Orleans player to reach double figures in scoring, with 12 points.

Clippers guard Eric Gordon knocked down two free throws with 12.4 seconds remaining to help seal the victory, giving L.A. an 88-84 edge. After the Hornets cut it to 88-86, Collison stole a pass on the defensive end before appearing to be bodied out of bounds and losing possession with eight-tenths of a second to go. The Clippers inbounded to Gordon and time expired.