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Loud Links: 05|01|10 - Durant Wants More

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Improved Thunder spark title talk from Durant -
"You hear me say championship a lot a because last year I said playoffs and we made the playoffs this year," Durant said Saturday. "I've seen that we have that talent and that work ethic to get to the championship. But chemistry is a big part of it. We just want to continue to be a group that sticks together no matter what."

Oklahoma City won only 23 games last season and was considered the worst team in the NBA after a brutal 3-29 start. What followed was an epic turnaround that resulted in the Thunder winning 50 games this season the best improvement in the league before giving the Los Angeles Lakers a legitimate test in the postseason. The unbelievable run only ended when Pau Gasol came up with a last-second tip-in that allowed the defending NBA champions to advance.

"I doubt I'll watch any more playoff games this year, knowing that I could have had an opportunity to win the championship. That's where I want to be, no matter what," said Durant, who at 21 became the youngest player to win an NBA scoring title. "No matter how many points I score, no matter how many rebounds I get, I want to be a champion."

"I could be the last man on the bench and be the best cheerleader. I want to be a champion. At the end of the day, that's what it's all about for me. I could care less about anything else. It's just all about winning."

In Defeat, Thunder Sounds Warning Shot to League -
Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook, the Thunder’s young guns, were on their way out, having finally succumbed to the Lakers’ size and savvy.

Bryant greeted Durant and Westbrook as an approving father would after a spirited battle on the driveway. He told them they were "a couple of bad" something-somethings, using a phrase that cannot be repeated here. He meant it as a compliment. "Glad we’re done with you guys," Bryant said, sounding exhausted and a little exasperated.

Opinion: Lakers make mess out of Thunder fairy tale - NBA
When it was over, both teams lingered. Opposing players shook hands or hugged or both, not unlike they do in hockey. The Ford Center crowd stood applauding for several minutes. The home team’s mascot – a buffalo or something, named Rumble – rolled around on a Segway, leading the cheers for a team that had just lost. Jackson later would call the scene "heartwarming." No, this was not just another first-round playoff series. This was something larger, the crusty defending champions being pushed by a bunch of kids who didn’t know better.

Serge Ibaka, shades of Dwight Howard
His ability to get off the floor, reaction time, and solid hands are a great foundation for a player that has only really played two years of organized basketball – in the Spanish ACB, the top league in Europe. His frame and athleticism reminds me of Dwight Howard – a Dwight Howard that can speak Congolese, Spanish, and French… but little English.