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Loud Links 3|7|11

The Thunder have to turn around from last night's overtime victory and head down to Memphis, where they will no doubt be in for another bruising affair as they tussle with Zach Randolph and the Grizzlies. Perhaps Kendrick Perkins can make the trip just to scowl at them or something.

Thunder Grinds Out Win at Free Throw Line | NewsOK

One of these days, a rich guy with lots of busy hands at his disposal (like Mark Cuban) is going to start digging into the crazy free throw disparity that the Thunder enjoys on almost a nightly basis. Last night, there were two factors working in their favor. The first is the home crowd, which can subtly effect the way the referees call games. The second is the perception of the team; the Thunder are seen as a driving, aggressive team, and the Suns are not. Outcome: 47-14 free throw shooting disparity.

OKC Wins Wild One in OT, Taking Down the Suns | Daily Thunder

Young points out a clear issue with the Thunder in late game situations - it isn't so much that Kevin Durant should not be the guy taking that last second shot, it has more to do with the fact that it is always the exact same play called, and with few exceptions the play has failed. To go along with that, Durant did not have a strong offensive game last night. I don't know if it is still residual effect from the sprained ankle, but his jump shooting motion looked poor most of the evening. 

Thunder Rumblings | NewsOK

In Mayberry's post-game nuggets, he highlights one interesting aspect of the Suns' hot shooters, Mickael Pietrus and Vince Carter. Those two guys shot the Suns into the game, and then they shot them out of the game. I guess being Michael Jordan isn't as easy as it seems.

Thunder Make 29 More Freebies to Storm Past Suns | Bright Side of the Sun

So yeah, um, the Suns faithful aren't too happy this morning. I can't say I blame them.

Will Coaches Cede Control to Data Analysts? | Ball Don't Lie

Here is the follow-up to Devine's previous story about the MIT Sloan Sports Analytics Conference, which was held over the weekend. I'm one of those proponents of the "more information is better" concept, and this "rise of the machines" day is still a long ways off, but if you watch the NFL attentively your suspicions should be piqued. In the NFL, I do believe coaches are almost at the tipping point of having too much information, where not only is there no marginal incremental advantage to the data, but it actually begins to cause performance regression. 

More links after the jump.

Aldridge does a great job charting out how, with the Thunder's recent success in rebuilding the franchise through both the draft and the trade deadline has provided a blue print for other small market teams. Here is an important statement: 
Every Star Player Isn't Bolting Every Small Market
If you think about it, it's true. The headlines have been dominated by LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony and suddenly the NBA world is falling down, but consider the truth if you've followed the situation. Those two guys have been rumored to be wanting to leave for greener pastures almost since the day they were drafted. Their leaving should not have been a surprise. But for the rest of the league, most players have stayed put.

Here is another observation from the MIT conference. The key comment for me:

Tarek Kamil knows the computers will, at some point, tell a coach to remove LeBron James from a game late in the fourth quarter because his heart rate data says he is too tired to play as effectively as the team needs him to. "If the odds say you should take out LeBron James, you’re going to be on the hot seat," Kamil said. "But over the long-term, you will be more successful if you play the odds like this."

Here is the hidden assumption - statistics as a predictive measure depend on one thing - the law of averages. Over time, the law of averages will normalize to a point where to a statistical degree, you know what will happen at what frequency. However, the problem is that it relies on the idea that the coach will be around long enough to experience those statistical expectations. As the story states about Avery Johnson, he relied on the analysis, lost the series, and was fired a year later.

Thunder Needs a Little Variety at End of Games | NewsOK

Tramel offers some insight into the tunnel vision that the team seems to have in end of quarter moments. Chances are, if the clock is winding down, you already know what the play is going to be. What is particularly frustrating though is that the play does not actually work. 

A Sheen-Style Understanding of the NBA | TSN

A view of the Thunder through the eyes of a celebrity in mid-meltdown.

"It's a War. And it's on."

Thunder and the Best Young Teams in the NBA | Bleacher Report

Here is how the youngest in the league are stacking up with just over a month to go.

Krstic Excels in Transition Game | Boston Globe

There's a headline I'll bet you never thought you'd read. It appears though that Nenad Krstic, who despite his limitations DOES fit in a typically defined role as a perimeter-oriented center, has fit in better than Jeff Green.