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Loud Links 2|7|11

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I hope you all enjoyed the Superbowl, and congratulations to the Packers for their outstanding win. Now that football is out of the way, the nation can give its full attention to the glory of basketball.

Thunder Has Faults But Still 33-17 | NewsOK

Mayberry writes about the Thunder's strange dichotomy between their defensive struggles and the reality that they still have one of the best records in the league. True, they have not learned to play with the efficiency of the Spurs, the tenacity of the Celtics, or maximize their assets the way the Hornets have been forced to. The fact remains though, 33-17 is 33-17, and that's pretty good. You are what you are.

Jazz Discuss Loss to Thunder | Salt Lake Tribune

"Yeah, they have a terrific team. I thought they were a terrific team last year. They played the Lakers in a tough series. Young guys that just getting better and better. They know what they’re doing they know how to play with each other and they are really a terrific team." - Utah Coach Jerry Sloan

Hayward Guarding Big Dogs | Standard Examiner

Rookie Gordon Hayward drew the responsibility in guarding Kevin Durant on Saturday. He matched up against Durant pretty well, and with a little help, they kept Durant from going off for another scoring binge. Too bad for the Jazz that the rest of the Thunder lit it up from behind the 3-point arc.

More links after the jump.

Steve Nash Still Impresses | NewsOK

Mayberry writes a good piece on the staying power of Steve Nash. He has prolonged his career with a carefully regulated diet - no sugar, no glutin, for starters. There are some great quotes in the article, but this one is probably my favorite: 

"He's just a smart, smart player, man. He's in great shape. He does a great job (making) things easy for his teammates. He does a lot of great, different things on the floor." - Russell Westbrook on Steve Nash

NBA's Race to the MVP |

Derrrick Rose tops the list, but both Durant and Russell Westbrook now round out the list. 

Lakers are Still Best in the West | Bleacher Report

Despite the resurgence of the Spurs, there is still faith in the Laker dynasty. I think I'd be more convinced if Tim Duncan didn't already have four rings of his own.