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Loud Links 2|28|11

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Sadly, a third consecutive loss has visited upon the Thunder for the first time this year. Previously the team had been able to stave off the dreaded 3rd loss with a miracle shot, but this time, both Kevin Durant's and James Harden's attempts to tie fell short. Next on the docket is Indiana, who has had one of the weirder seasons for a mediocre team. I do like tenacity the team is playing with right now. Even though when you look at the 2nd half of Laker game and you see that the Thunder were held to 31, it's important to keep in mind that they also held the Lakers to 39 second half points, and 90 overall (12 points below their average), and they also out-rebounded the 4th best rebounding team in the league. There is hope here. 

Recap following later today.

Lakers Top Thunder | NewsOK

Here is Mayberry's deadline report where he takes a look at how the Thunder performed against the Laker front line of Pau Gasol, Lamar Odom, and Andrew Bynum. It seems like those guys had solid games, but they were not transcendent games. Thabo Sefolosha did a great job against Kobe Bryant, and the game was there for the taking. However, the Lakers still know how to close out games, and the Thunder do not.

Thunder Rumblings | NewsOK

Mayberry offers some post-game nuggets. In a few of the lesser recognized moments, he singled out Cole Aldrich for his strong play in limited action, which is promising for the talented by inconsistent big man. Mayberry also asks the question why the Lakers do such a good job guarding Kevin Durant. I kind of feel like the Old Spice Guy on this one, but...look at Ron Artest. Now look at Durant. Now back to Artest. Now back to Durant. Do you see the difference? 

OKC Misses Two Shots to Tie, Falls to Lakers | Daily Thunder

Royce Hearts Daequan Cook. I do too, now that he's getting consistent minutes and the team is getting him open shots. I have seen some concern about the Thunder's offensive output these last two games now that Jeff Green is a Celtic. I don't think Green's absence is a problem, because from an offensive standpoint, James Harden and Cook are making up the difference. If anything, I think that a "less is more" approach will benefit the Thunder offensively because each player's role will be more clearly defined.

More links after the jump.

Kobe: Underestimated, Overestimated, and Still Arguably NBA's Best | Bleacher Report

Whenever Kobe speaks in public nowadays, I always listen with interest. It is not because I think he has anything interesting to say (few players do when faced with a mic), but because he speaks in a way in which he thinks people want him to speak. He always has. He spoke like Jordan when he thought he was supposed to be Jordan. He now speaks like Charles Barkley because people think that he's a man without a filter. And yet, this phasing in and out of perception is the exact opposite of what he is on the court, where he is now relying mostly on experience and muscle memory. 

Detroit Pistons Falling Apart, Players Laugh | Ball Don't Lie

For whatever in-season frustrations we may sometimes feel about the Thunder, let us all be thankful that the organization is not the same as what the Pistons fans are dealing with.

NBA's Next Contract Must Give Small Markets a Chance | IndyStar

Here is another look at the threat owners perceive in the current trend for star players to congregate in few locations. Unlike some other other more public whiny screeds, this one actually looks at the details to make the argument. However, this quote strikes me:

"The NBA has to put a break to this trend, before the league becomes a collection of four or five super teams and 25 others that have absolutely no hope to compete for titles."

I understand the sentiment fine, but when I see lines like this, I have to ask, have you not actually watched the NBA for the past 30 years? Four or five super teams and 25 others is the norm, not the exception. It always has been.

Good Ratings, Better Games as Lockout Looms | Idaho Statesman

And to wit, here is one person that actually sees it. This season, with its conglomeration of talent, has been one of the most, if not the most, entertaining seasons in years.

Ref Tells Kobe to Make the Shot | Ball Don't Lie

For all his accolades, this is what Kobe is about as well. Pretty funny.