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Afternoon Loud Links 1|31|11

January games have now concluded. The Thunder finished the month with a winning record, though just barely (7-6). They are still atop the Northwest, but the real race is going to be between the Thunder, the Mavericks, and the Hornets. The margin for error shrinks by the game.

Top 10 Injured NBA Player Power Rankings | Business Insider

A look at the most important players who are sitting on the bench with injuries. My favorite of course is "fake tough guy" injury.

Stop Taking Up Our TV Screen Space, NBA | Ball Don't Lie

Kelly Dwyer picks up on what has become a truly frustrating experience this year in the NBA - the desire for the NBA to "multi-task" the TV screen. It kind of reminds me of when CNN tried to make use of "hologram technology." Why? Because we can, that's why! It is truly horrid because often times, the split-screen interview is just with another guy just talking, as if simply hearing him over the broadcast is not sufficient enough to carry proper weight. Here is a hint - staring at Adam Sandler's mug for two minutes while he mumbles about his latest awful movie  is never more interesting than the action on the court.

Is Kevin Durant's Nice Guy Image a Sham? | Ball Don't Lie

This one is a bit of a stretch. As a sort of comparison, I recall listening to a retired hockey player (I cannot remember who, my apologies) doing a radio interview. He made a point to say that all of the players on the team that were the identified enforcers - those guys who believe in the concept of martial law and are willing to exercise it - are some of the most kind and gentle guys when off the ice. He said that when kids are brought into the locker room, they are dropped off at the enforcers' lockers because the parents know their kids will be safe. As a player, you have to know that your teammates have got your back, and you want them to know that you have theirs. It is a critical component to building teammates that trust each other.

More links after the jump.

NBA D-League Daily Developments | Our Sports Central

Cole Aldrich and Latavious Williams contributed double-doubles to extend the Tulsa 66ers' winning streak to 14 games.

Cook Finds OKC a Good Fit | Sun Sentinel

Daequan Cook was one of the casualties in Miami last season in order for Heat President Pat Riley to make salary cap room for LeBron James. He has not gotten many minutes this season, but in the past two games, has netted 9 and 13, respectively.

LeBron James Trusts His Teammates | NewsOK

James led all players with 13 assists, including the game winner, winning the approval of Mr. Tramel.

Thunder Column | The Daily O'Collegian

Last night's game had a definite playoff atmosphere, as seen by one of the local college reporter-types.