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WTLC Daily Loud Links: January 2, 2014

We start off 2014 the same way we ended 2013 … With some links!

Mark D. Smith-USA TODAY Sports

First of all, I just want to say: Happy New Years to all of you and I hope this year is better than the last for all of you and that the Thunder have a better season than the last.  But before the playoffs and all that comes around, check out these links. Enjoy!

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Anthony Slater of the Oklahoman thinks that the defense for the Thunder will be the key to getting wins in the absence of Russell Westbrook, and I agree.

In 2010-11, the first season the Thunder won a postseason series, its defensive efficiency was 104.0, 13th best in the NBA. The next season, the year OKC made the Finals, it was 100.0, ninth best in the league.

By last season, it had improved to 99.2, fourth best in the NBA. And now, 31 games in, it has dropped all the way to 97.5, behind only Indiana among the league's most stingy units.

"It's what we take pride in," Thunder coach Scott Brooks said. "We're a defensive team."

Now, Darnell Mayberry wonders why Reggie Jackson was not in the game when the Blazers made their run.

Does Scott Brooks know what he has in Reggie? Do any of the Thunder assistants? If so, I don't understand how he's on the bench during that stretch.

This is interesting. The Raptors have a show on NBA TV Canada that is pretty much like "The Association" here, and take a look how the players found out about the Rudy Gay deal.

There was a scary moment for NBA fans today, especially those in Cleveland, when Kyrie Irving underwent an MRI to his left knee. Lucky for all of us, it was just a bruise and he'll be listed as day-to-day.

Late in the night, Michael Carter-Williams had the best tweet of the year so far (it's been a day, that's why.) He pokes some fun as everyone (and I mean everyone) that believed the Sixers were out to tank the entire season away.

Well, he isn't lying.. The Sixers are 1-0 in 2014 after a win against the Nuggets.