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Loud Links 4|15|11

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Today is our last day to sit quietly and bask in the playoff sunshine that is about to overtake us. What would really enhance the experience is if you slog through some April Major League Baseball, if only to remind you how awesome playoff basketball is.

Five Things We Learned About the Thunder and Nuggets | Daily Thunder

Young points out one of the primary keys to the series - pace. The Thunder did a great job of slowing the game down and making possessions matter, and the Nuggets were never able to get any sort of fast break going.

Why the Thunder Will Win In Five | NewsOK

Tramel offers his theory on why the Thunder will make this series go more quickly than everybody thinks.

Thunder Respond to Nuggets Claim of "Cocky" | NewsOK

I guess when your team is as controversial as sprinkles on vanilla ice cream, this qualifies as controversy. Even so, I like Kendrick Perkins retort: 

"We haven't (done anything) but win basketball games. But if you feel that way, the only thing you can do is do something about it. If not then be quiet."

Playoff Optimisim: Nugget Checklist | Denver Stiffs

The boys over at SB Nation's Denver Stiffs begin their analysis of the playoff match-up. Make sure to include those guys as part of your daily reading. They do great work.

More links after the jump

Streaking Teams to Wage Classic Series | SB Nation

Prada predicts the outcome of the playoff series. He notes that the Thunder present all kinds of match-up problems for the Nuggets.

Nuggets Tight-Lipped About Injuries | Denver Post

Denver is dealing with a handful of injuries, and there is no telling yet what it might mean if Danilo Gallinari, Ty Lawson, Nene, Timofey Mozgov, and Chris Andersen are not at full health.

Rajon Rondo Opens Up About Perkins Trade | CelticsHub

Kendrick Perkins' former teammate Rajon Rondo talks a little bit about what it meant for him to play along side Perkins and how he's adjusting to the aftermath. It's a poignant examination because of the way it completely shifted Rondo's paradigm about how life works. As happy as I am that Perkins is in OKC, I still feel bad for the Celtics fans and players for losing such a critical component to their team.

There's a Rivalry Brewing | Denver Post

I think this is the correct assessment. The likelihood of "rivalry" shoots up exponentially when the techs start to fly.

NBA's Amazing Race Begins | WSJ

In which the Wall Street Journal compares each team to a form of transportation. My personal favorite - the team that is a Segway

NBA In Memorandum 2011 | The Basketball Jones

Because anything these guys do is worth watching. H-O-R-S-E. Special props to flashing Eva Longoria during the "dust in the wind" line.

The Point Guard Revolution | SB Nation

Prada writes a great piece on the year of the point guard. What I love most about the proliferation of all these great young point men is that, barring major injury, their careers are secure. There will always be a demand in some capacity for a guy who knows how to run an offense and coordinate a team.

Top Storylines of NBA Playoffs | Sports Illustrated

Lowe examines what will be the most compelling storylines to which we have to look forward. Are the Thunder ready to rise?

Preview: Thunder vs Nuggets | Sports Illustrated

Mannix previews the series. He laments the fact that this series will do away with one of the most exciting teams of the second half of the season.