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OKC Loud Links: Two Down, One Purple and Gold One to Go

The Thunder finally played up to their own capabilities rather than play down to their opponents' last night in defeating the Trail Blazers. The game should hopefully serve as a good tune-up, because tomorrow night they head to LA to take on the Lakers for the second time this season.

Post Game Nuggets | NewsOK

I agree with Rhode - I think Royal Ivey deserves more regular minutes. His defensive presence tends to cause good things to happen.

Thunder Stars Dominate in Win | Daily Thunder

Russell Westbrook was strong offensively last night, but I would diverge from James' opinion a bit. Too often he gambled on the Blazers' guards, most notably Jonny Flynn, and Flynn turned in a better effort than he probably should have as a result.

Nolan Smith Helped Bring Scott Brooks a Ring | The Columbian

Here is a sweet story about an old connection between Scott Brooks and the Blazers' Nolan Smith, who got his first NBA start against the Thunder last night.

Clutch Squared | Daily Thunder

Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook are in constant evolution. The next level, which we're watching play out now, is Durant setting up Westbrook in the half-court, rather than the other way around.

Media Row Report | BlazersEdge

Golliver does his standard wonderful job describing the scene at the Rose Garden during last night's game. The goal-tend game seems like a distant memory as the Thunder are surging and the Blazers went from contending to rebuilding in the span of a month.

Jeff Foster: Rare | 8 Points, 9 Seconds

Pacer stalwart Jeff Foster announced his retirement recently. Donahue writes an incredible post here on Foster's career, including a remarkable interview he gets with Pacer newcomer David West. A must-read.

Rookie Rankings XI | Grantland

I'd personally rank Chandler Parsons higher, but that might be because he seems to morph into Scottie Pippen every time the Thunder play the Rockets.

Fatal Flaw of the Heat | Sports Illustrated

Lowe doesn't directly point it out, but this piece about the Heat's defensive weaknesses has interesting parallels to the piece he wrote last week about the Thunder's own defensive weaknesses.

Tony Allen Explains Why He is Awesome | ESPN

I am quite fond of Tony Allen and his irreverently nonsensical (or is it nonsensically irreverent?) tweets. Step inside the mind of Grit-Grind.

Kobe Passes Jordan for Most Points Scored With Single Franchise | Ball Don't Lie

I am reminded of a Cheers episode where barfly Norm said, "Some people spend their whole lives in bars. Just yesterday, some guy sat right here next to me for eleven hours."

Poppovich Gets Real On Diaw | SB Nation

Greg Poppovich embodies one of the great things about getting older - you gain imperiousness to be able to toss out digs on other people and the masses think you're colorful.

The NBA Now Has Twitter T-Shirts | SB Nation

That's some pretty hot hashtagging you got there.

Thabeet is Tall | Twitter

Here is your evidence as to why Hasheem Thabeet has a roster spot.