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Loud Links: 11.19.2009

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Needless to say, after a blowout loss the vast majority of articles out there are going to be focused on just how badly we were beat. Then we have the articles homing in on Harden's statistically superb performance. So ... read on!

Fantasy Basketball Breaking News -
[We start with a rotoworld putting it plainly -- yeah for Harden's performance, but don't expect a repeat anytime soon.]
James Harden came off the bench and caught fire for the Thunder on Wednesday, hitting 7-of-14 shots and six 3-pointers for a career-high 24 points to go along with three rebounds, three assists and a steal. The Thunder were simply out of it tonight, and Harden got hot while the rest of his team struggled. Don't expect another performance like this from Harden any time soon.

Atlanta Hawks' Josh Smith showing plenty of fantasy potential again | ESPN
[Embedded within this article is a snippet on Harden. Kind of reiterates the same thing -- don't read too much into Harden's performance, since it came during a blowout. Nice stat line, but ultimately pretty meaningless.]
Though it came in a blowout loss to the Orlando Magic, it's worth noting that Thunder rookie James Harden had the first good statistical performance of his career on Wednesday, putting up 24 points (including 6-for-7 on 3-pointers) in 31 minutes. Unfortunately, many of those minutes came once the game was already in hand, so we shouldn't read too much into it quite yet. …

And after the jump we have lots of material related to our blowout loss, an article on KD, and more.

KD Struggling With His Place In The League |
[So yeah, another "KD is humble and hardworking" article. Enjoy.]
The Oklahoma City Thunder's Kevin Durant is the exception. Maybe it's an act, but Durant is arguably the most self-deprecating player in the league, refusing to accept that he is among the NBA elite, and refusing to acknowledge he's arrived as an impact scorer in the NBA despite averaging better than 28 points a game. Asked last night if he thought he could win the NBA scoring title this year, Durant surprisingly downplayed his own skills in an almost "embarrassed to answer the question" kind of way and said he didn't think he was good enough yet.

Thunder notebook: Kevin Durant held to 12 points |
"I don’t like our players to make excuses about the referees, which is why I don’t get (technicals)," Brooks said. "We have to fight through the calls. Referees do a great job. Orlando did a good job playing physical basketball. We didn’t match it. I was frustrated. I thought our players needed a jolt. It didn’t work."

MAGIC: Denton: Magic-Thunder Postgame Analysis |
[Pointing out the obvious: RW0 needs to stop with the over-reliance on jump shots, especially when he can't sink them.]
Russell Westbrook and Durant, the centerpieces of OKC’s much-improved team, seemed overwhelmed Wednesday against a Magic team that was out for revenge. Westbrook didn’t get into the lane nearly as much as he did 11 days ago when the teams played. He instead stayed mainly out on the perimeter, content to fire up jump shots.

Arizona Daily Wildcat - 5 Questions for Arizona men’s basketball
[Since we're on the Harden topic ... this is a fun point of consideration ... ASU or U of A?]
Ex-Sun Devil James Harden, selected third overall in the 2009 NBA Draft, earned a laundry list of awards during his two seasons in Tempe — both of which were 20-win campaigns. Most notably, he left without ever losing to the Wildcats. Losing Pacific 10 Conference Player of the Year Harden and veteran Jeff Pendergraph, a senior selected in the second round of the Draft, leaves the Sun Devils without go-to scorers, aside from senior point guard Derrick Glasser. It’s all too familiar in Tucson. The Wildcats also lost the vast majority of their points to the Draft — Jordan Hill went eighth overall and Chase Budinger went in the second round — and enter this season without go-to scorers aside from senior point guard Nic Wise.

Rough Night in Orlando for Thunder |
[That's one way to sum up exactly just how much of a complete and total thrashing we suffered.]
One indicator of Oklahoma City's struggles were the stars stats. Kevin Durant had season lows in scoring and rebounding (12, and 3); other starters (Jeff Green, Russell Westbrook, Nenad Krstic and Thabo Sefolosha) didn't pick up the slack, scoring a grand total of 25 points and combining for 16 rebounds (Sefolosha had seven of those). The positives: turnovers were low (12), scored season-high 20 fast break points, and James Harden had a break out night.

Thunder notebook: Wizards Warning |
"They had some injuries," said Thunder coach Scott Brooks. "When they're healthy they're a much different team. They're a talented team. We'll have to play with energy and play well." "The biggest thing is to be ready," Weaver said. "It was good to get in that first time to get the feel back. It was good to get to play a whole quarter. I made a couple of shots which helped my rhythm."

Wizards-Thunder Preview - Nov. 19, 2009 |
Washington Wizards veterans Gilbert Arenas and Caron Butler are certainly happy to have Antawn Jamison back. With James Harden coming around, the Oklahoma City Thunder may soon have their own trio of stars.