The league's best duo?

A big performance by Collison-Durant could be OKC's ticket to the NBA Finals

Updated: May 19, 2014, 11:26 AM ET
By Kevin Pelton | ESPN Insider

Kevin Durant, Nick CollisonMark J. Rebilas/USA TODAY SportsWith Kevin Durant and Nick Collison on the court, OKC outscored opponents by 18.1 points/100 possessions.

With apologies to the Miami Heat's Big Three, success in the NBA postseason has always been most strongly defined by dynamic duos -- teammates who feed off each other and dominate opponents. Now that starting forward Serge Ibaka is out for their series with the San Antonio Spurs, and probably the remainder of the postseason, the Oklahoma City Thunder will have to rely on the NBA's best pairing to advance to the NBA Finals.

Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook? Nope. Try Kevin Durant and Nick Collison.

Better together

You may remember Collison, the Thunder's anonymous third big man who averaged 4.2 points per game this season, from my team of real plus-minus All-Stars. Or, before that, as the face of Per Diem predecessor John Hollinger's list of "No-Stats All-Stars."

So how does a player who poses such little threat to opposing defenses end up in the top 10 of ESPN's real plus-minus, just behind Stephen Curry? Answer: Pair him with the league's best scorer.