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Loud Links: 01/12/2010

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Today's edition of Loud Links features some further chatter about David Lee and OKC ... yeah, that again. In other news, the Knicks evidently lost because they were haunted by ghosts. And then there's all the stuff about how great Durant is/has been/will be.

Thunder notebook: David Lee in OKC? |
[This seems to have been a topic that's been discussed to death. I'll say "no", since there's no way Presti hands out the sort of stupidly ridiculous contract Lee most likely thinks he deserves. Not to mention the part where the readout on the player says: "Plays no defense"] "Any team that has cap space, you have to give thought to," Lee said. "I got to spend time with all of three of them last summer at the Olympic camp in (Las) Vegas. They’re all good guys. I’ve known Jeff a couple of years. Anytime you have exciting young players, it would be a fun place to play." Even though Oklahoma City will be $14 million under the salary cap, Lee, who led the NBA in double-doubles last season and is averaging 19.1 points and 10.9 rebounds, realizes Thunder general manager Sam Presti’s long-term plan. "They’re probably saving the Brinks truck for those three guys," Lee said. "At this point there’s so much still to be seen. I’m just concentrating on helping this team, which can do some good things, then see how everything pans out this summer."

New York Knicks say haunted hotel was a problem before loss to Thunder
[Honestly ... this passes for news? What the heck ...] OKLAHOMA CITY - The Knicks were afraid, very afraid. And it had nothing to do with the Oklahoma City Thunder. For two days, several players had trouble sleeping because they were convinced that their downtown hotel is haunted. "I definitely believe it," Jared Jeffries said. "The place is haunted. It's scary." Eddy Curry claims he slept for only two hours Sunday night because he couldn't stop thinking about ghosts roaming the hotel. For years, guests staying at the Skirvin Hilton have reported ghost sightings and strange noises. Legend has it that sometime in the 1930s, a woman jumped to her death while holding her baby in her hands. "They said it happened on the 10th floor and I'm the only one staying on the 10th floor," Curry said. "That's why I spent most of my time in (Nate Robinson's) room. I definitely believe there are ghosts in that hotel." Assistant coach Herb Williams teased Jeffries and Curry for believing that the Skirvin is haunted, but Curry wasn't laughing.

Oklahoma City, City of Lights -- The Sports Section
We are glad no one asked Knicks coach Mike D'Antoni if he wished he were coaching the Oklahoma City Thunder last night, because we suspect it would have been difficult for him to lie. D'Antoni was clearly salivating at the "length" and talent of the Thunder, who wiped out the Knicks 106–88. (Afterward, D'Antoni limited himself to an awesome "we'll just throw this one down the toilet and move on" quote.) The Thunder are exactly the type of team D'Antoni would love to coach, even though they're in Oklahoma City. Seriously, watch his press conference: The man has Thunder Envy.

Kevin Durant finding ways to get to line |
But it’s how Durant reached 30 for the 19th time this season that was noteworthy. He had only 14 field goal attempts. "I’ve been in the league 2 1/2 years. I’m starting to learn the tricks and trades of getting to the line," Durant said. "My teammates do a great job of setting me up (with screens and passes) to make sure I have opportunities. If I continue to be aggressive, I can get to the line even more." After watching Kobe Bryant, LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Carmelo Anthony in last year’s NBA playoffs, Durant vowed to be a two-way performer by playing better defense and not settle for as many jump shots. So far, he’s succeeded in both areas, which is why many in league circles feel he’s a lock to be named to the All-Star Game for the first time.

The Canadian Press: Constant tinkering turns Thunder from laughingstock to defensive-minded playoff contender
Times have changed for the Thunder after constant tinkering with the roster by general manager Sam Presti and an emphasis on defence by Scott Brooks, in his first full season as head coach after filling in for P.J. Carlesimo on an interim basis last season. "When you look at the schedule, we know we're capable of beating anybody," Collison said. "That doesn't mean we're going to win every game but it's a lot more fun when you come in and you know that if you play well, you've got a great chance to win."

Ghost in OKC Causes NY Knicks to Lose to... | Gather
[Amazing that there's more than one article about this ... ] N.Y. Knicks lost to the Oklahoma City Thunder by a whooping 106-88 last night because they say, they couldn't sleep because they were being haunted. The Knicks stayed at the Skirvin Plaza Hilton in Oklahoma City. The Skirvin was built in the early 1900's. The story goes that the Skirvin is haunted by a chamber maid, who jumped to her death with her babe in arms around 1930, when the owner of the Skirvin Plaza, which was rebuilt in 2007, kept her in the upper rooms of the Skirvin to hide her and their love child.

Daily Five: Kevin Durant's Defense Has Improved Immensley - Technorati Sports
Britt Robson: "But Durant has made that a moot debate this season. By any measure, the guy has suddenly become a stalwart individual and team defender. For those who prefer visual evidence, consider Monday's game against the Knicks. In one sequence, Durant left his man, Danilo Gallinari, to intercept a pass on the wing, only to discover that he'd fallen for a fake and the pass was going to Gallinari for a three-pointer in the corner. He stopped in his tracks, wheeled around and leaped, up and sidewise, far enough to block Gallinari's quick-release jumper. Gallinari, who came into the game averaging 14.5 points, was shut out (on 0-for-7 shooting) in 32 minutes."