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Loud Links: 01|04|10

New, comment Bulls' Rose and Thunder's Durant named Players of the Week
The Chicago Bulls' Derrick Rose and the Oklahoma City Thunder's Kevin Durant today were named the Eastern and Western Conference Players of the Week, respectively, for games played Dec. 28, through Jan. 3.

Rose led the Bulls in scoring in each game, averaging 26.7 points, 5.0 rebounds and 5.7 assists, as Chicago went 3-0. On Jan. 2, Rose became the first Bulls player to post a 30-point, five-rebound, five-assist game since 2008 (Kirk Hinrich) when he amassed 30 points, six rebounds and seven assists in a 101-93 win over Orlando.

Durant paced the league in scoring (34.3 ppg) and added 7.3 rebounds, 2.8 assists and 1.8 blocks, leading Oklahoma City to a 3-1 week. On Jan. 2, Durant set a Thunder franchise record by recording his seventh consecutive 30-point game, becoming the first player to do so since Nov. 2007 (LeBron James). Durant recorded his eighth double-double of the season on Dec. 29, when he tallied 35 points and 11 rebounds in a 110-98 win at Washington.

NBA At 2: The Grizzlies Future - Basketball News & NBA Rumors
[When they traded for Mayo a few years ago, I thought the future looked brighter for the Grizzlies. Now other people are starting to think the same. This article goes in depth about the Thunder, Grizzlies, and Blazers. you should read the whole thing.] It's a bold statement, but Memphis Grizzlies owner Michael Heisley thinks his team could be part of the future of the Western Conference, and he said as much to Ron Tillery of the Memphis Commercial Appeal. "The thing I like the most is they all like each other and they play well together," Heisley said. "If the city doesn't find this team exciting, I don't know what to do. This is a team you can build for the future on. Add a couple of pieces and you have really got something here. It's a little like where Portland was a couple of years ago. Between us, the (Oklahoma City) Thunder and Portland ... I think that's the future of the West."

Perhaps calling that last line bold is an understatement; before the season began there were a few people who thought the Grizzlies could do well, but probably not be playing .500 ball in January (look it up, they really are!). It's also something for Heisley to lay the claim the Grizzlies should be mentioned in the same breath as the Portland Trail Blazers and Oklahoma City Thunder. Portland is at least a year ahead of the other two having made the playoffs last spring, while the Thunder have roundly been accepted as the next team to make the leap (and are doing so this year). Do the Grizzlies really fit that same mold?

Thunder notebook: OKC looks to start new streak |
Thabo Sefolosha has been slowed over the past week with a case of plantar fasciitis of his right foot. The Thunder’s starting shooting guard has played at least 30 minutes in each of the past four games, but the injury flared up during Saturday’s game at Milwaukee. Sefolosha nursed his foot on the bench for a long stretch in the second-half. "It’s just painful at the bottom of the foot," Sefolosha said. "It’s not too bad. It’s just after a little while, running on it, you get cold on the bench and have to warm it up again. I’m going to be fine."

Russell Westbrook iced his ribs immediately following the Milwaukee game after landing hard on his right side after going up for an offensive rebound in the first half against the Bucks. Westbrook tried to brace his fall with his arm but landed hard on his shoulder and midsection area. "We’ll see how it feels (Sunday) morning, but I’ll be fine," Westbrook said after the game.

Thunder Girl to compete on ‘Bachelor’
Christina, a 25-year-old restaurant manager from San Diego and Valishia, a 32-year-old homemaker from Carlsbad, will compete for Pavelka’s affection against a member of the NBA’s Oklahoma City Thunder dance team, a corporate flight attendant, a mortgage loan officer and a captain in the Air National Guard.