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Loud Links: 01/14/2010

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Spurs outlast Thunder in OT |
[So this was pretty much ... not the outcome I was looking for. We had many, many chances there at the end ... but a few bad breaks and some terrible decisions basically ruined that ending. And falling behind by a mile to start a game isn't probably the best idea for the future either.] By the final horn, the sight of stunned Thunder players slowly stepping off the court evoked memories of the many outcomes that burned Oklahoma City in the same fashion. The lone difference on this night was that the improvement was clear for everyone to see, even after the customary conclusion. Russell Westbrook missed a 19-foot jumper from the right wing as time expired on a resilient Thunder squad and dropped Oklahoma City to 21-17. The Thunder trailed by as many as 19 points and walked into halftime down 12 against a Spurs team playing without injured star Tim Duncan and key role players Matt Bonner and Michael Finley.

Oklahoma City Thunder at Dallas Mavericks preview | Dallas Mavericks News | Sports News | News for Dallas, Texas | Dallas Morning News
They have won eight in a row at AAC against the Thunder, but had to go to overtime for a two-point win in their visit here in February. ... They beat the Thunder by 14 points in Oklahoma City last month but needed 35 points and 11 rebounds from Dirk Nowitzki. ... Tim Thomas is hoping to return from an Achilles strain.

The Desire for DeJuan Blair | Thunder Rumblings
[An interesting article no doubt ... of course I'm not sure I'd agree with the rationale -- since who knows if Mullens pans out at all, whereas everyone can pretty safely note that Blair is a rebounding machine in the short term. There are far worse things to have than that.] Blair can ball, no doubt. He’s a beast on the block and a bully on the boards. His 28-point, 21-rebound performance Wednesday night against the Thunder marked only the fifth time since 1992-93 that a rookie has posted a 20-20 game and the first time since his teammate, Tim Duncan, did it in March of ‘98. Shaquille O’Neal, Alonzo Mourning and Joe Smith are the other three. But Blair might not have been a good fit on the Thunder. Sure, that might sound silly after seeing him slay the Thunder on Wednesday night. The thing to remember, though, is the Thunder is building for the long haul. In San Antonio, Blair is cheap production off the bench for a Spurs team that is a championship contender as currently constructed. In Oklahoma City, the outlook is for five, six years down the line.

Oklahoma City Thunder Handicapping
The Oklahoma City Thunder are one of the most pleasant surprises of the NBA season. We knew that they were going to be a team to watch in the coming years, but even the most optimistic fan has to admit that they are ahead of schedule right now. If the playoffs were to start today the Thunder would secure the No. 7 spot in the West. It's their bad luck that they don't play in the East because they would be sitting in fifth over there. They've been just as kind to bettors as they have been successful in the standings as well - only two teams have been more successful against the spread on the season.

Ducks: ASU Still Dangerous Without Harden | KEZI
EUGENE, Ore. --- Oregon hosts Arizona State at Mac Court Thursday night for the Ducks fourth Pac-10 game, and Oregon's probably really happy James Harden is no longer a Sun Devil. The sophomore dropped 36 points in the Ducks in a 66-57 loss. Harden was selected 3rd overall in the NBA draft by the Oklahoma City Thunder. Despite losing Harden, the Ducks say Arizona State has still proven it is a dangerous team this season.

Thunder is at home on the road |
"It’s tough to win on the road, especially places like Utah, San Antonio, Miami and Phoenix," said Kevin Durant. "We’ve played complete games. We’ve played good defense and gotten stops when we need them." Despite early-season road success, finishing with a winning road record is difficult. Last season only seven teams accomplished the feat. And New Orleans and Denver barely made it (21-20).

Jeff Capel says Blake Griffin will be just fine |
If Griffin is going to win NBA Rookie of the Year, he’ll have to do so next season. Slow to heal from a broken left kneecap, Griffin will require surgery and be out at least another four months. An injury expected to keep Griffin sidelined roughly 6-8 weeks under the best-case scenario will now keep him off the court at least seven months total.