WTLC Daily Loud Links: January 21, 2014

Mark D. Smith-USA TODAY Sports

Various and Sundry before tonight's big matchup between the Thunder and Trail Blazers.

Tonight the Thunder face a Portland team that just lost last night to the Rockets. Can OKC finally take a win off the weary Blazers?

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You're never gonna guess who Royce Young has ranked at the top of his weekly player rankings. No, seriously.

Serge Ibaka has topped the 20 point threshold 3 games in a row now, and a big reason why is his bonding with Kevin Durant's playmaking. This evolution is very significant because it means that even when Westbrook returns, Ibaka will still be able to play at a high level when Westbrook is taking a rest.

Within that, Durant's ability to keep Serge Ibaka involved offensively could be the most significant. It's emerged as a primary key to survival for the Oklahoma City Thunder in the absence of Russell Westbrook.

David Aldridge always has lots of good things to say, and this week he has a lot of good things to say about the Thunder.

In such ways, the Thunder argues, they are changing, but from within. They get better with rookies like the first-round pick Adams, who has shown an unusual proclivity to get opposing players tossed out of games. It's only a matter of time before Adams is the everyday starter, but OKC insists that time isn't now, that Perkins, no matter what the advanced stats say, helps win games. Perkins, in the Thunder's nomenclature, works for their franchise.

Check out how the Blazers lost to the Rockets last night. I have to say, this is is not the best prescribed way for the Thunder to finally take a win off of Portland.

We're amazingly at the midway point of the NBA season, so mid-term awards are being assigned. Through every statistical measure, Kevin Durant has reached LeBron James' stratosphere. He may never completely surpass LeBron, but he's at least in the discussion.

Did you happen to catch Paul George's ridiculous in-game dunk from the other night? 8 Points, 9 Seconds has it in animated form. That's fantastic.


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