Loud Links: 01|18|10 MLK Day

Thunderous jam helps OKC match win total - TrueHoop Blog - ESPN
If you’re measuring how far the Oklahoma City Thunder have com in a year, consider this: Last season, the Thunder needed all 82 games just to win 23. This year, they did it in half the time.

Unbelievably, the Thunder hit the midpoint of the season having already matched last year’s win total at 23-18 in the wake of Monday’s thrilling 94-91 win in Atlanta. And while there were many heroes -- Kevin Durant with his de rigeur 29 points, most notably -- for the purposes of brevity I’ll highlight two. First, and most obviously, there was Jeff Green. With the Thunder clinging to a 91-89 lead and 15 seconds left, Green had the ball near midcourt and was trying to get it to Durant. But with Josh Smith smothering him and Joe Johnson denying Durant, there wasn’t any opening for him to get his prolific teammate the rock. "The play was drawn up for Kevin," said Green, "But Atlanta did a tremendous job denying it to him. He couldn’t get the ball [and] I didn’t want to force it to him." So instead, Green took matters into his own hands. He spun away from Smith’s pressure, dribbled down the lane, and uncorked a right-handed statue-of-liberty slam over Smith that left the home crowd gasping. It’s rare to see one of the league’s top shot-blockers posterized in his own building, let alone on such a crucial play. "

The play of the game," said Thunder coach Scott Brooks. "[The Hawks] did a good job not letting KD get the ball. Jeff made as a strong a move as we’ve had all year. … He knew they were going to go after his shot and he did a good job going over Josh."

Durant 25 for 15th Straight; Thunder Win | KSBI Thunder TV
Kevin Durant scored 29 points stretching his franchise record to 15 straight games with 25 plus points. Only LeBron James has a longer streak for players under 22 years old, his streak is 16. Durant did snap his second 30 point scoring streak tonight at five games.

In the absence of Nick Collison, Serge Ibaka and Nenad Krstic did a good job picking up the rebounding slack. Ibaka finished the game with 10 rebounds while Krstic had seven. The Thunder in the end out rebounded the Hawks by a total of 48-44.

Athletes Leave the Sidelines to Help Haiti Now - OK! Magazine
"The response from our colleagues has been overwhelming," said Alonzo as he traveled to Haiti on Friday. "We accept these donations with complete confidence that Project Medishare will put each dollar to quick and efficient use. Having been in Haiti, I have seen their work in action, and will be returning tomorrow morning to continue to assist them with their efforts."

Dwyane, who has personally contributed $1750,000 to the cause, said, "I expected nothing less from my friends and colleagues in the sports community. Our commitment to this cause knows no bounds, and we will continue to accept any and all donations throughout the days ahead."

Alonzo, LeBron James, Kevin Durant and Chris Paul have each pledged $100,000.

"Since first learning of the tragedy in Haiti, I was intent on finding a way to help," said LeBron, who plays power forward for the Cleveland Cavaliers. I feel fortunate to be in such a position to provide support and my heart and prayers continue to be with the people of Haiti."

NBA star Kevin Durant from the Oklahoma City Thunder said, "The situation in Haiti is devastating. I wanted to do my part, and contribute to the Athletes Relief Fund so the people of Haiti know we care and support them."

Chris Paul, who plays for the New Orleans Hornets, said $61,000 of his $100,00 donation was in honor of his deceased grandfather, offering a personal story. A high school student at the time, Paul scored 61 points in a game the day after his grandfather’s passing.

NBA.com : NBA League Pass Free Trial

Thunder notebook: Mark Cuban encourages Kevin Durant | NewsOK.com
After Dallas’ 99-98 win over the Thunder Friday night in Dallas, Mavericks owner Mark Cuban stopped Kevin Durant, told him he was incredibly talented, wished him luck and chided him about having more Twitter followers.

"I’m a young guy just trying to find my way in this league," Durant said. "I’ve got a long way to go. For him to stop me and tell me that it felt good."

NBA.com: Thunder have pieces to make push for Raptors' Bosh
Oklahoma City is loaded. With talent. With picks. With cash. When pondering future seasons of a Thunder program that starts but doesn't end with Durant, visions surface of a serious Western Conference contender. But why can't it be this season? Isn't this franchise in position to make a major move in a conference that has more of its share of quality teams though none, outside of the defending champion Lakers, are overwhelming. OKC is hanging in the playoff race and has beaten plenty of big boys with a college-age roster. Imagine that roster with Bosh or Joe Johnson or Dwyane Wade right now. (We're realistic enough not to throw LeBron James in the mix.) As far-fetched as it sounds, the Thunder own the assets to make a deal like Bosh work before the trade deadline next month.

Blazers, Nuggets, Thunder looking to acquire big man in trade - Frank Hughes - SI.com
Oklahoma City is in an altogether different mode, but would like to add a complement to center Nenad Krstic nonetheless. The Thunder aren't trying to find a short-term fix for a run in the postseason, but are focusing more on their long-term goal of building a sustainable winner. Oklahoma City is one victory away from matching its win total for last season, and though making a decision for immediate success is tempting, Thunder general manager Sam Presti is going to place a premium on patience and prudence.

So, who's out there? Well, just about anybody on the Washington Wizards' roster is available, though GM Ernie Grunfeld is not going to just give away his assets. If a team makes a legitimate offer, Antawn Jamison could be had. Clippers forward-center Marcus Camby also is available, and rejoining the Nuggets could be an interesting dynamic for Camby, whose contract expires after the season. The Sixers are thought to be dangling Samuel Dalembert, and the Nets are listening to offers for Yi Jianlian. Carlos Boozer's name also is always out there, but acquiring the Utah power forward would be more than just finding a complementary player; that would require the fundamental restructuring of a team. Expect those named to be thrown around more and more as the Feb. 18 deadline approaches.

The Hawks gaze at the Thunder, see their younger selves | Mark Bradley
With the second pick in the 2007 draft, the Thunder (then the Sonics) took Kevin Durant, who’s one of the 10 best players in the sport. With the second pick in the 2005 draft, Knight chose Marvin Williams, who’s of the 10 best players on his team.

"We always got smacked in the face for not drafting [Chris] Paul," Woodson said, but it’s the whiff that keeps on missing. Even with a new contract, Williams remains inessential. He’s averaging 10.4 points and 5.1 rebounds, both marking significant sags off last season’s yield. On Monday he played 21 minutes, scored seven points, took two rebounds and managed no assists. (Durant: 29 points, five rebounds, five assists.)

Durant was the difference Monday even when he didn’t touch the ball. The Hawks keyed on denying him an inbounds play with 19 seconds left, but Green took the ball at the top of the key and got Smith leaning and drove for the clinching dunk. Not many people dunk on Josh Smith, but Green did it with vigor.

Said Al Horford, drafted one spot after Durant in 2007: "They’re definitely as athletic and as talented as we are." And this day the Thunder was a tad hungrier.

"They play hard," said Crawford, who took almost the same shot to tie Monday as he’d hit to beat Phoenix on Friday but saw this one roll off. "They compete." Here he smiled. "It’s like looking at the Hawks of a couple of years ago."

Mild Concussion Sidelines Collison - Sports News Story - KOCO Oklahoma City
Oklahoma City center Nick Collison is sitting out Monday's game against Atlanta after suffering a mild concussion in the win over Miami. Coach Scott Brooks said Collison, who was injured while battling the Heat's Jamaal Magliore for a loose ball on Saturday, will be re-evaluated on Tuesday. Though Magliore's foreman slammed against the bridge of his nose, Collison stayed in the 98-80 win. The team medical staff diagnosed a mild concussion later Saturday. Collison, a fifth-year veteran from Kansas, is averaging 5.8 points and 5.1 rebounds as the primary backup to starting center Nenad Krstic. Collison is traveling with the team on its four-game road trip. Brooks said he's not sure if Collison will play Wednesday at Minnesota.

NBA Insider: Kevin Durant taking game to an elite level - USATODAY.com
Forward Kevin Durant is amassing admirers. The latest: the Miami Heat, who saw Durant drop 36 points on them in the Oklahoma City Thunder's 98-80 win Saturday. Durant was 14-for-18 from the field, 77%, the highest mark of his three-year career. He is third in the league in scoring (career-high 29.1 points) and has not scored less than 25 in 14 games. "He is so big and skilled, and he can just shoot it over the top even when you're there and he doesn't even notice you," Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said. "I remember him his rookie year. He was nothing like this."

Sports Central | Revisiting Preseason Predictions
I'm putting this one in the "good," even though technically, it's wrong. Durant is second in the league in scoring at 29.6 per game, behind Carmelo Anthony's 30.0. If this were a Hollywood prediction, it'd be on par with "the guy who played the Jew Hunter in 'Inglourious Basterds' will win all sorts of awards." Christoph Waltz, like Durant, is just that good. Last season, Durant averaged 26 points per game after Scott Brooks took over in Oklahoma City, and you could see Durant developing all the tools to become and elite NBA scorer. This season, he simply put it all together night in and night out. Now, he's one of the most unstoppable scorers in the game, with more 30-point games (22) than any other player in the league. At just 0.4 behind Anthony for the league lead, Durant is a real threat at just 21-years-old to be the youngest scoring champ in NBA history.

X
Log In Sign Up

forgot?
Log In Sign Up

Forgot password?

We'll email you a reset link.

If you signed up using a 3rd party account like Facebook or Twitter, please login with it instead.

Forgot password?

Try another email?

Almost done,

Join Welcome to Loud City

You must be a member of Welcome to Loud City to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at Welcome to Loud City. You should read them.

Join Welcome to Loud City

You must be a member of Welcome to Loud City to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at Welcome to Loud City. You should read them.

Spinner

Authenticating

Great!

Choose an available username to complete sign up.

In order to provide our users with a better overall experience, we ask for more information from Facebook when using it to login so that we can learn more about our audience and provide you with the best possible experience. We do not store specific user data and the sharing of it is not required to login with Facebook.

tracking_pixel_9347_tracker