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Loud Links: 10.11.09

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***Scroll Down for Zorgon's preview of tonight's game***

Clippers vs. Oklahoma City - Game Preview - Clips Nation
Oklahoma City lost in Sacramento last night in a game that came down to the buzzer. Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook and Jeff Green all played big minutes in that one, so the Clippers caught a break there. The Thunder have been pretty solid so far this season. Until tonight, their losses had come against good teams, and they've mostly been close, including taking the Lakers into Overtime. Nonetheless, after winning their first two games of the season, they've lost four out of five. The Thunder are the only team the Clippers beat three times last season - but all those good memories were completely washed away by the 41 point beatdown they put on the Clippers in the final game of the season, on LA's Fan Appreciation Night. I for one did not appreciate it. Kevin Durant has become one of the toughest players in the league to defend, and Jeff Green and Russell Westbrook have talent. But it seems to me these guys are still a couple years away from competing. [Very good preview of tonight's game by Clips Nation. Remember that blow out last season. Be careful Thunder, the Clippers may be out for revenge tonight.]

ESPN's NBA Future Power Rankings: Teams 1 to 5 - ESPN Insider
[ESPN ranked the future of NBA yesterday. Guess where the Thunder landed?] Oklahoma City may not make the playoffs this year, but for the three years that follow, the Thunder's hopes seem as bright as any team's. It starts with a rapidly improving roster that includes star forward Kevin Durant and rising talents like Russell Westbrook, James Harden and Jeff Green, as well as several intriguing prospects -- Thabo Sefolosha, B.J. Mullens, Serge Ibaka and D.J. White among them. Oklahoma City also ranks high in the money category, having more than $10 million to spend this summer on a free-agent splurge to cement its already strong nucleus while maintaining a very good cap situation for future seasons. The only question is whether owner Clay Bennett will commit to spending once the time comes. But thanks to the strong moves made thus far by GM Sam Presti, OKC earned a ninth-place ranking in the management category. The Thunder also scored well on the draft, owning both their pick and an unprotected choice from Phoenix in next year's draft before their likely ascension to the back end of the draft in future seasons. One area in which they didn't fare as well, however, was in the market category. Oklahoma City is the smallest NBA market and plagued by some wild weather, two factors that combine to put it well off the radar for most prospective free agents. But there's hope: The Thunder have an excited fan base, and Oklahoma City might look like a pretty good destination if the Thunder start winning big.

THUNDER: Wednesday Night: Thunder at Clippers
L.A. Clippers center Chris Kaman. This guy gets a lot credit for helping the Clippers to the cusp of .500 through the early season. With the team struggling with injuries, conditioning and chemistry, Kaman has been consistent. The Clippers center posted 20 points or more in six straight games this season. He leads the Clippers in scoring (21.9 points), field goal percentage (57.3%) and rebounding (9.4). Kaman played in just two games against the Thunder last season, averaging 19 points and 10 rebounds. Expect to see Nenad Krstic, Etan Thomas and Nick Collison get their crack at Kaman.

NBA PM: All-Star Ballot Debate - Basketball News & NBA Rumors
[Some interesting thoughts about the All-Star ballot. Oh yeah vote!!!] Predictably there is some outcry about players being left off and to be fair there are some notables missing, such as center Chris Kaman of the L.A. Clippers (as noted in yesterday's post, the reigning Western Conference Player of the Week). There are also some curious choices, such as picking Chicago Bulls center Brad Miller to be on the ballot over teammate Joakim Noah, since Noah is the starter. [Did you read that? Kaman was the Western Conference Player of the Week. Isn't the American who decided to play for the German national team in the Olympics?]


Kings notes: Nocioni makes Durant work for points | Sacramento Bee
It ended a tiring night for Durant, the Thunder star who was hounded by Kings small forward Andres Nocioni from beginning to end. Durant had 37 points, but he hit just 9 of 23 shots. He had it easy at the free-throw line, though, hitting all 18. "No, he didn't bother me," Durant said of Nocioni, who scored 16 points for the Kings in 35 minutes. "He tried to be physical and push me around, but he got me to the foul line, and I like those kinds of easy points. It was challenging. It was tough. He plays hard, but it didn't bother me at all."

Early in the season, it's important to assess your league's standings and the values of your players - ESPN
[This fantasy B-ball article mentions RW0.] Another interesting example is Russell Westbrook, who was shooting an amazing 48 percent -- just like Roy did last season -- from the field before a rough night Tuesday. It's amazing because as a rookie Westbrook topped 46 percent from the field in just one month and completed the campaign with an embarrassing .398 field goal percentage. Personally, I expected a significant jump in his shooting percentage this season, perhaps to the mid-40s. Considering his history last season, we shouldn't expect his field goal percentage to be any higher than its current 45 percent, although I don't think it will drop all the way to the low-40s.


66ers Team Colors To Match Oklahoma City Thunder - OurSports Central
The team's official website, tulsa66ers.com, will feature a new orientation of the Thunder Blue, Thunder Navy, Thunder Yellow and Thunder Red color combination that will enhance many of the features on the site. The website not only has updated content regarding the 66ers, as the team gets ready to tip off the 2009-10 season, but also ties into many of the great features on the Thunder website at thunder.nba.com. The new home uniform, will be a white jersey and shorts, with navy piping around the neckline, along with navy three-stripe piping down the sides for each. The 66ers wordmark is highlighted on the front with numbers in the light blue and outlined in red. Road uniforms will be light blue, with orange piping around the neckline, and navy three-stripe piping down each side. Tulsa is featured on the front of the jersey in white lettering with navy trim and the numbers will also be white digits with navy trim. Both home and road uniform shorts will feature the 66ers secondary logo on the left thigh and the Thunder secondary logo on the right thigh.

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Thunder's All-Star marketing plan: Vote early and often | NewsOK.com
To help push three of the NBA’s rising stars to their first All-Star Game appearance, the Oklahoma City Thunder will encourage fans to "Vote Thunder. Vote Often." It’s a marketing campaign that is in line with the team’s "Rise Together" motto, which avoids putting one player over another even though Kevin Durant is widely considered the league’s next big star and projected by some to earn a selection to this year’s All-Star Game, set for Feb. 14 at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas.

66ers Announce Bundle Ticket Pack With Thunder-Cavs Game Included - OurSports Central
[For our Tulsa readers, if there are any... Mr. P. you out there?] Tulsa, Okla., November 11, 2009 - The Tulsa 66ers announced today that 10-game ticket packages are now on sale. The 10-game bundles sell for only $99 and include the Oklahoma City Thunder versus Cleveland Cavaliers match up at the Ford Center on Sunday, Dec. 13. Fans can see nine tremendous 66ers games from 100-level seats, in their inaugural season at the Tulsa Convention Center in downtown Tulsa, while also sitting in the "Loud City" section at the Ford Center to see Cleveland's LeBron James, along with Kevin Durant and the rest of the Thunder during the Cavs only trip to Oklahoma this season. Many of the nine select 66ers games will feature extraordinary halftime acts, and amazing entertainment. As a ticket plan holder, any unused tickets can be exchanged for future 2009-10 regular season games.

Winner of the free NBA League Pass broadband account - Ball Don't Lie
"I am a disheartened, disappointed, and disenfranchised (literally) Seattle Supersonics fan. I have been a loyal fan through the high days of the Glove and Reign Man, and the low days of "this might be my last Sonics game ever." However, unlike most bitter Sonics fans I have converted into an Oklahoma City Thunder fan.