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Loud Links 4|27|11

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If you watched any of the games last night, you were treated to teams playing dominant performances against their competition. The Bulls were finally able to close out the Pacers, winning by 27, which incidentally is one game following their upset loss in Game Four where Derrick Rose played poorly. Losses happen to the best of teams, but what is important is to see how the team responds. Tonight, just like the Bulls and Rose, the Thunder and Russell Westbrook get that same opportunity.

Durant, Westbrook Stick Together | NewsOK

In Game Four, sideline reporter Pam Oliver reportedly caught Kevin Durant and Westbrook in a "heated exchange." If you're a Thunder fan and were concerned, or a Nuggets fan and excited, this story should put those passions to rest. 

Changing Storylines | Basketball Prospectus

Pelton, focusing on last night's games, underscores a major element of how we perceive these series. The truth is, there isn't much difference in talent between the first and eighth seeds, and so you have to treat each game in its own context as well as the entirety of a series.

Kings Checkmated by Money, Luck | ESPN

Bill Simmons wrote a great piece yesterday about the bad situation the Kings are in. SB Nation's Tom Ziller chimes in on it as well. The part I liked the most, even as an aside, is the fact that Commissioner Stern will let a franchise operate in reprehensible ways (see: Donald Sterling) but only gets upset if somebody dares to criticize the officiating.

Premature Thoughts on the Memphis Beatdown | GQ

Bethlehem Shoals, erstwhile writer of the defunct FreeDarko, chimes in on the remarkable job the Grizzlies have done in pushing the Spurs to the brink of a 1st round collapse. Balls Out! indeed.

Give Westbrook a Break | NewsOK

Tramel argues that despite the poor game by Westbrook, the coaching staff shouldn't do anything in how they direct Westbrook.

More links after the jump.

Thunder Quickly Becoming Oklahoma City's Team | Denver Post

I don't know if Kiszla received a heavy doze of electroshock therapy, but this post, reflecting on the OKC community, quite complimentary. 

The Good, the Bad, and Expectations: Western Conference | Behind the Basket

This site continues its conference-by-conference analysis, examining what each team is doing well and poorly. The writer notes well that the Thunder have been extremely foul-prone this series. It is good to have a deep bench, but those needless fouls also give up free points.

A Different Monster | Business Mirror

The first round has born out a few good examples as to why the playoffs are so different from the regular season.

Q&A With John Hollinger | NewsOK

Mayberry gets a few questions in with the creator of the PER, ESPN's John Hollinger. He provides some insight as to how he watches the game and why he created a new system of measurement. 

Karl's Needling Ignites Ty Lawson | Denver Post

Ty Lason was the biggest reason why the Nuggets won on Monday, and he is the biggest cause for concern for the Thunder defense. They must keep him from getting to the rim so easily.

Internet Basketball Awards | Basketball Prospectus

Pelton unveils his 2011 awards for NBA players, as voted on by fans of the site.

Ron Artest Wins 2011 Citizenship Award | Ball Don't Lie

Eric Freeman writes:

the most impressive aspect of Artest's work has been his complete lack of shame in discussing his past mental health issues. Often, the biggest problem related to this issue is an inability or unwillingness to reach out to others for help. By acting as such a tireless advocate for this cause, he's proving that you can be honest and forthcoming about past and current mental health needs without embarrassing yourself.