Loud Links: Oklahoma City Thunder News for July 14, 2009

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Here is a quick rundown of Thunder related news. There is more praise for Shaun Livingston’s performance in the Summer League games. Hoopsworld name their Orlando first team. Livingston is named the point guard and Russell Westbrook is named the combo-guard. Nenad Krstic marries his long time girlfriend. Kevin Durant has a Ustream account. The Thunder will meet the Lakers tonight in Las Vegas.

Q&A: Thunder rookie guard James Harden | NewsOK.com
Q: You had a dunk in the first quarter that almost looked like you were trying to prove once and for all that you’re an athletic player and not just crafty. Is that a stereotype you’re looking to shatter? A: I think I’ve always been able to jump a little bit. When the lane’s there I’m just going to try to finish it as best as possible. So whenever I get a chance to finish strong, that’s what I’m going to do.

NBA Summer League: Day 3 | NBADraft.net
Westbrook got his team off to an encouraging start in the second half with a drive to cut the lead to 12. First rounder (27th pick) DeMarre Carroll scored 5 points early in the second to help reassume control for the Grizzlies. With Memphis shooting over 50%, the lead ballooned out to 20 late in the third. Oklahoma City had no choice but to step up their defensive effort and managed to cut the lead to 14 going into the 4th. But it was all Memphis the rest of the way as OKC rested their exhausted stars.

Thunder Move Toward Becoming Factor -- NBA FanHouse
"I'd like to think we'd be a place that people want to play," general manager Sam Presti said before his club faced Memphis at Cox Pavilion. "That's been our experience thus far for the two summers we've been in Oklahoma City. We're looking for guys who are good fits for us. And the flexibility we have is something we value."

Shaun Livingston's unlikely return from knee injury a triumph - OrlandoSentinel.com
No way should he be here, on this court, leading this team. No way should he be dribbling and passing and, well, playing. Shaun Livingston should be anywhere else. But somehow, the former No. 4 overall pick of the draft is writing the comeback story to beat all comeback stories.

Thunder Insider: Russell Westbrook growing up fast | NewsOK.com
"He’s improving," said Thunder coach Scott Brooks. "Just talking to Russell, he even says it. The game is slower for him. And that’s good. Russell is a dynamic athlete, but I like the fact that he is thinking the game and he’s improving his cerebral part of the game. As a point guard, you have to be able to think. You can’t just go out there and play."

2 years after horrific injury, Livingston hopes full circle almost complete - Las Vegas Sun
That said, it may be tougher to find an older soul in the league than baby-faced, rail-thin 23-year-old Shaun Livingston. Before even hitting the age where car insurance begins to come relatively cheap, the 6-foot-7 point guard has been a prodigy, a budding star, the victim of a horrific freak injury and then the comeback tale everyone is hoping is completed with a happy ending.

Barto: First Team From Orlando - HOOPSWORLD
Shaun Livingston may have lost a step. However, when you start three steps ahead at age 18, that lost step is less significant. There were other point guards that made more spectacular plays and put up better statistics, however Livingston's intangibles were off the charts. Filling up every statistical category in the games he played, it was his court presence, teaching of the younger players (one of whom speaks limited English), and overall goodwill that gets him my vote. On the court, his length and feel for personnel and mismatches was tremendous. His mid-range pull-ups, floaters, and shooter finds all translate to real NBA speed. Everyone says it takes two solid years to recover and it looks like Oklahoma City is executing this plan perfectly.

Who may be moving up the NBA food chain? - FOX Sports on MSN
Oklahoma City Thunder: We can consider this team upgraded by simply tearing another year off of the calendar. But the maturing Thunder also used the third overall pick in the first round to select a card-carrying shooting guard named James Harden. What Harden provides is a legitimate two guard whose presence will continue to discourage anyone affiliated with personnel groupings to put Kevin Durant back at shooting guard, where he couldn't defend a bear in a phone booth. Taking Harden also meant not choosing point guard Ricky Rubio and keeping second-year point guard Russell Westbrook from having a fine reason to be (at least temporarily) bitter.

THUNDER NOTEBOOK | NewsOK.com
Shaun Livingston has overcome another small obstacle in his recovery from a career-threatening knee injury. The Thunder’s point guard said he received clearance last month to play without a knee brace over his left leg, explaining why he’s played with only a sleeve over his leg during summer league games in Orlando and Las Vegas. "I feel less restricted, and I’m going out there and feeling like I have a little bit better bounce than playing with that brace," Livingston said. "My explosiveness still isn’t at the point of what I want because I know what I have. So that’s different. But laterally, I feel like I’m about to (move) faster and I wasn’t able to with that big brace."

Harden, Thabeet face off in Vegas | Dime Magazine (www.dimemag.com)
Classic example of the difference between the NBA summer league and the real-life NBA: Yesterday’s matchup pitting #2 pick Hasheem Thabeet against #3 pick James Harden drew a good-sized crowd at the Thomas & Mack Center in Vegas, and later headlined NBA TV’s "Gametime" highlight show. But wait until the regular season...

Vegas: Thabeet Looks Comfortable - HOOPSWORLD
The Oklahoma City Thunder never got into any type of flow, looking out of sorts with 22 turnovers on 37% shooting - 36.4% from three-point range. The Memphis Grizzlies led throughout the game with 53.2% shooting and 50% from deep, ending with an 86-57 win. This 29-point margin was the largest so far at the Las Vegas event.

Blic Online in English | Culture & Showbiz | Celebration with trumpets
Nenad Krstic, NBA Oklahoma basketball player, got married with his girlfriend Tanja yesterday in Saint Marko’s Church in Belgrade. Before they got married, Nenad and Tanja had been in a relationship for six years. The atmosphere in front of the church was very cheerful. The groom was standing with his friends and family, while the bride started dancing while she was waiting to enter the church.

Thunder notebook: OKC drops opening game to Grizzlies | NewsOK.com
Oklahoma City was plagued by turnovers, shaky defense and a little too much one-on-one play. The Thunder turned the ball over 23 times, leading to 26 Grizzlies points, and shot just 37 percent from the field. Memphis guard Marcus Williams had twice as many assists (17) as the Thunder had as a team (eight). The Thunder was led by Russell Westbrook’s 14 points. Kyle Weaver was the only other Thunder player to score more than six.

Kevin Durant on Ustream

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