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Jeff Bower drafted rookies Darren Collison (21st) and Marcus Thornton (43rd) to make marginal contributions over the season. For Thornton, provide desperately needed scoring from the wings and as for Collison spell some minutes from Chris Paul.
It's safe to say, Bower probably didn't think he would be getting a return on his investments this early.
Marcus Thornton scored 19 points and fellow rookie Darren Collison chipped in 15 points as the pair of rookies proved their worth in the Hornets' 110-103 win over the Suns. On a quieter note, their combined output of 34 points is the highest of any rookie point guard-shooting guard tandem thus far in the NBA this season.
A 3-year starter out of UCLA, Collison has dispensed 17 assists to only seven turnovers since Chris Paul went down, so excuse his 5-for-15 night from the floor because he made plays when it mattered. He accounted for nine of their final 14 points and secured the game by intercepting Amar'e Stoudemire's pass with :35 seconds remaining.
Collison initiated a persistent tempo led by penetrations of the Suns defense. He routinely used his quick first step and crafty dribbles to bypass Steve Nash on the way to the basket and though this won't show up in the box score, four of his misses led to a series of easy put-backs and four rebounds for Emeka Okafor.
A balanced night included 15 points, five rebounds, and five assists and a win over the Western Conference's best team in what will prove to be a game that salts away and stocks confidence in Jeff Bower to look towards Darren Collison when Chris Paul does return from his ankle injury.
As for his counterpart, Marcus Thornton was equally efficient and integral to the Hornets' surprising win over the Phoenix Suns.