OKC Loud Links: The New Season Begins

Thunder vs Dallas. In a symmetrical way, it makes sense that the Thunder would once again have to face their nemesis from last season. In the five highly contested games the two teams played last year, we found out quite a lot about both the Mavs and the Thunder. We discovered that the Mavericks knew how to make up for any discrepancy in talent by playing intelligent ball, adjusting on the fly to take advantage of mismatches, and then just using Dirk Nowitzki as a jump-shooting bludgeoning instrument that the Thunder never really figured out how to divert. We also learned that the Thunder, as talented as they were, still were prone to mental lapses at the worst possible times. This opening round will show us whether either one of these insights has changed.

Inside the Mind of Kevin Durant | Time

This is a really insightful piece on Kevin Durant the person. He goes into how he developed his personal clothing style, how he has evolved as a person, and what it means to embrace the inner-nerd. Excellent piece.

Wonder Boys | Grantland

Here is the second excellent feature length piece done on the Thunder. In this one, Phillips tries to get his head around what it means to be watching the Thunder evolve. What I dig most about this one is that it would be so, so easy for this piece to devolve into a string of cliches, but Phillips avoids that trapping. Well, except for the extensive comparisons to Lindsay Weir.

Lookin' Like the Mavs | Daily Thunder

The name of the game in playing the Mavericks is patience. The Thunder have the talent, but they have to give themselves the opportunity to let it flourish.

Game of Thrones and the NBA | Pounding the Rock

There are playoff previews, and then there are previews. This one left me gasping for air.

How Durant Won the Scoring Race | Wages of Wins

Do you want to see how Kevin Durant came from behind in the scoring race to pull it off?

Western Conference Preview | SB Nation

Prada runs through the Western Conference teams and predicts a Thunder series win in five. He warns that while Dirk Nowizki still lurks, the fact was that last season he played out of his mind, and if he cannot repeat that effort his team may not have enough offense to compete.

NBA Season Awards | Behind the Basket

The crew gives his run-down of end of season awards. James Harden is a unanimous decision.

The WWE Guide to the NBA | Grantland

The Masked Man (who if you care is one of the best writers on the spectacle that is pro wrestling) analogizes the WWE superstars to their NBA counterparts. He goes way back and compares Durant and Westbrook to The Rockers. I'm not sure I like how that one ends, or which one gets tossed through the window.

NBA Soul | The Classical

You know it when you see it, who has it and who does not. I'm going to go out on a limb here and say Cole Aldrich is probably in the 'not' category.

Key Questions | Sports Illustrated

Lowe runs down some key questions for a number of series in the 1st round. For the Thunder, will they be patient enough to attack the weak points of the Dallas D?

Larry Bird 100% Sure He's Stepping Down | 8 Points, 9 Seconds

The Legend is going to be stepping down after running the Pacers front office. If so, it is good to see he is leaving a great team in place for the foreseeable future.

Potential Wrinkles | HoopSpeak

Here are a few odd items that may hinder how some of the teams progress in the playoffs this season.

Brad Miller Says Goodbye | SB Nation

Brad Miller finally has reached the end of a long career in the NBA, and his emotions got the best of him.

Requiem for a Team | CNBC

Don't forget, the fan film "Sonicsgate: A Requiem for a Team" airs tonight on CNBC at 10PM ET, and then replays on April 29th at 10PM.

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