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Loud Links | 11.24.2009

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So today's Loud Links is up pretty late as I was held up at work. Regardless, here we go -- Ibaka is saying all the right things to the press, Weaver is back, and the 66ers start play this weekend.

Serge Ibaka knows time will come |
[Thank goodness he knows enough to say good things to the press. I for one hope he gets some more minutes; we need to see what we have here.] "So for me it was very important to play well. Maybe next game I play five minutes or zero minutes. For me, that is no problem. For me, the (goal) is to focus every day and work hard every day. That’s very important for me and when my time comes to be prepared."

The Canadian Press: Thunder recall Weaver from Tulsa of NBA D-League, guard to suit up for Jazz game
[I love this move. Weaver is a much superior option from the bench then some of our other options, and I'm not sure how beneficial D-League would have been for him, in contrast to Mullens, who clearly needs to work on some fundamental drills.] A second-year player, Weaver scored 11 points in his season debut last week against Orlando. He also played the final minute of the Thunder's victory Friday night against Washington.

Tulsa 66ers Start This Weekend |
[So, all you people in Tulsa, time to go turn out for this. Maybe.] The rebirth of the professional sports scene in downtown Tulsa continues this weekend as the Tulsa 66ers NBA D-League team will make their debut in the newly renovated Tulsa Convention Center. The 66ers are coached by Nate Tibbetts and are owned by the Oklahoma City Thunder.

More after the jump -- including stuff on Jennings whom we'll see shortly in a wonderfully televised matchup, Jerry Sloan's take on the Thunder, etc.

NBA Parlay Picks – Utah Jazz Host Young Oklahoma City Thunder |
[So yeah, scoring's been a bit of a problem -- obviously.] The Oklahoma City Thunder have played absolutely fantastic defense this season, allowing just 94.1 points per contest this season. The problem for the young ballclub has been their inability to put the ball in the hole on a consistent basis. Kevin Durant is averaging a team-high 27.1 points per contest, but the only two other players scoring in double figures are point guard Russell Westbrook (16.4 ppg) and forward Jeff Green (14.2 ppg). The best rapper alive? |
[Wait ... is Sloan trying to say that teams need to lose more games and get better players? I mean I guess that's sort of what happened, but it seems more an issue of just getting better players. Sure, losing can potentially get you that higher lottery pick, but the teams who now have Jennings, Lopez, etc seem to be quite pleased.] "That's the advantages of losing games and getting better players," Jazz coach Jerry Sloan said. "They've done a good job getting good players, making the right choice. I think they know their business very well and I think they've done an excellent job of picking players." The Thunder's rise is of considerable importance to the Jazz, given that the two teams are Northwest Division rivals. "You saw it happen with Portland," Deron Williams said. "They were kind of in the same boat a couple years ago and then finished better than us last year. They're on their way to being a good team as well. ... In a couple years, they're going to be scary good."

Oklahoma City @ Utah GameThread, Nov 24, 2009 9:00 PM EST |
All of their losses have come against the top teams in the league save for Ls to the Kings and Clippers. Even then, the loss to the Kings was when Sac. was playing really well. The Clippers can be a pretty good team. They've also beaten the Magic, the Heat, and the Spurs. This team is just on the cusp of becoming a very good team. As they gain another year of experience, they're going to be trouble. They're just another reason why the NW division could become the best in the league.

Thunder notebook: Looking forward after loss to Lakers |
[Wait ... that's not how regression works ...] A better defensive effort seems to be the key, as the Thunder has regressed recently on that end of the court. After allowing 100 points or more in four of its first 11 games, the Thunder has now given up at least 100 points in each of the past three contests. The Thunder is 1-6 when allowing at least 100 points. Utah enters the game averaging 99.9 points.

NBA D-League On The Rise - Sports Biz with Darren Rovell |
But the more relevant number was 2.25 million. That's the amount, in dollars, that Oklahoma City Thunder owner Clay Bennett paid to buy the rights to a D-League team in Tulsa last year.

Jennings' Italian seasoning pays off with thrilling NBA start |
[And this looks to be a fun game ... Westbrook versus Jennings? Or will we stick Thabo on him?] That's also why Jennings' journey to Milwaukee is the talk of the young season. ESPN has noticed, juggling its Friday lineup to include the Bucks at the Oklahoma City Thunder, another young team, featuring Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook. It will be the Bucks' first appearance on the network since Jan. 11, 2008.