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Loud Links 4|7|11

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I'm still feeling a little indigestion from last night, but I can only imagine how Mavericks fans are feeling. The Thunder need to make up two games on the Mavs to steal the three seed, and there are only a few games remaining. 

Thunder Lock Up Home Court With Win | NewsOK

Mayberry makes a great comment about home court advantage - it means nothing if you don't protect it. The Thunder need to realize that their fight for the conference means nothing if they waste it with a lazy effort at home. Great teams don't care about home court; good teams trying to become great do. The Thunder are still the latter.

Thunder Beat Clippers, Win Northwest | Daily Thunder

Young comments that the Thunder have had an amazingly successful season this year. We sometimes get caught up in the twists and turns that swing are emotions to and fro, but in the end, what they've done is top notch and you'd have to look hard to find something comparable.

Who Will Be a Budding Playoff Star? |

Somebody else was watching Eric Maynor's performance against the Nuggets. Now, here's the thing. I was reading the Nuggets open thread during that game, and there was a consensus there (and really, everywhere) that Maynor is not good. I mean, how can he be? He's the backup PG. Such an assumption can be forgiven because if you haven't actually watched him play games, you might be led to believe that a low draft pick from VCU is not, in fact, good. This would be an incorrect assumption. My prediction is, Maynor will be running his own team in three to four years.

Golden Nuggets | Denver Stiffs

The guys at SB Nation's Nuggets blog dare to ask: did Dallas tank their game last night? If they fall out of the 3rd spot, then they would face the Nuggets in round one. This idea was unthinkable even as much as a week ago, and yet here we are. If they are tanking, this means that OKC would get Portland in the first round.

Short-Handed Mavs Lose to Nuggets | Mavs Moneyball

On the other hand, the Mavericks are falling apart physically as well as psychologically. They may be finding themselves in the same position that the Spurs were a few weeks ago. They may care less about who they play than at least having everyone healthy enough to play.

More links after the jump.

Value for the Money | Basketball Prospectus

If you're interested in team efficiency as to how well they use their money, this is the place for you. As per their calculations, OKC is the most efficient franchise in the league as of 2010. The reason why is that their marginal wins dwarfs their marginal cost.

Lockout Ads: Stern vs. Hunter | The Basketball Jones

TBJ offers some excellent political-parody ads pitting commissioner David Stern against NBAPA head Billy Hunter. It had me cracking up once I heard the guys pronounce the term "lock-ooot"

NBA Playoffs Preview: Chicago Bulls | Negative Dunkalectics

In which the boys compare the Bulls to an album that is only available on vinyl. 

Ray Allen Hearts Reporters |

Ray Allen of the Celtics is one of the elder statesmen who is a great interview because of the way he can effectively communicate his thoughts into words that people will understand. He actually finds talking to post-game reporters therapeutic, and has some interesting reasons why.

Playing the Numbers Game in the MVP Debate | National Post

Here is another look at the tension between stat-heads and the worshipers of the aesthetic. I'll offer this thought - what if the Bulls won 10 fewer games this year? And another - are we confusing correlation and causation?

The LeBrons | Ball Don't Lie

Yes, LeBron James now has his very own animated series, featuring his marketing concoction of Wise, Business, Athlete, and Kid. Also, word is he also bought a soccer team. I have no idea why.

Things Are About to Heat Up For Thunder | NewsOK

Ms. Carlson examines the newfound saltiness of the Thunder crew. It's a beautiful thing to watch even the nicest guys in the game get playoff-ornery.