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OKC Loud Links: Preparations

The opening round of the playoffs is done for the Thunder and now we are faced with the most peculiar of things in this haywire season - an extended break. The Thunder will be facing either the Lakers or the Nuggets in the next round, but we know that series will go at least to five games. Under that scenario, we're likely looking at a second round that begins this coming weekend. Good for the team (and especially Kendrick Perkins) but it forces us spectators to preoccupy ourselves until action resumes.

Perkins Injury Update | Daily Thunder

MRI confirmed that Kendrick Perkins sustained a right hip muscle strain and is listed as day-to-day. Fortunately the Thunder took care of business and he may have over a week to recover.

Harden Eliminates Defending Champs | Basketball Prospectus

James Harden had not attempted a shot in the final minutes of the game all season. Hmmm...maybe he should have.

Exits | Wages of Wins

The numbers don't lie. Harden's points over par sends him into the superstar realm.

Derek Fisher Guts Bring Playoff Glory | NewsOK

Derek Fisher quietly had a very good first round of the playoffs. He did bring some veteran leadership, especially during Game 4's come-back win. However I contend that the big difference between what we saw in the regular season and now is not playoff experience, but the fact that he's actually making shots.

The Difference | The Two Man Game

Mahoney marveled at how the Mavericks had seemingly solved the Thunder defense, only for OKC to "re-boot it mid-stride." Indeed, the Thunder's 4th quarter defense will go as the unsung hero in their close-out win.

The End of an Era | Mavs Moneyball

This comes from the Mavs' perspective, but it is a quality piece of penmanship worth reading. The cruel reality of sports is that the mountaintop experience is so fleeting, and then you find yourself tumbling back to the rest of the world.

Post Game Nuggets | NewsOK

Respectfully, I'm not giving up on my nickname "Big Game James." Jimbo Slice is pretty sweet though.

The Divergent Careers of Eddy Curry and Tyson Chandler | Grantland

The dichotomy between the career arcs of Tyson Chander and Eddy Curry are one of the most fascinating narratives that I've seen over the past 10 years. This piece chronicles their divergence well.

Many Questions |

Aldridge does his normal phenomenal job at capturing the flavor of the NBA as the first round of the playoffs is coming to an end.

Paging Dr. O'Neal | Miami Herald

Shaq went and got his doctoral degree in education over the weekend. Say what you want about the guy, he continues to matriculate through life.

Rajon Rondo Impresses Fans, Presidential Hopefuls | SB Nation

Rajon Rondo is a passing wizard and Mr. Romney approves.

Jeremy Lin Could Return Against Miami | Ball Don't Lie

Jeremy Lin, undoubtedly one of the biggest stories to happen this past season, may actually get cleared to play against the Heat. The question is, should he?

The Weekly McGee | SB Nation

Starring JaVale McGee's mom. I'm sure it won't be the last.