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Thunder notebook: Eric Maynor arrives just in time

By Mike Baldwin, Staff Writer Published: December 24, 2009
Eric Maynor, acquired in a trade Tuesday with Utah, joined the team in Phoenix less than one hour before tipoff. After passing a physical in Oklahoma City, Maynor was given a video of the Thunder’s plays. He watched those on the plane trip to Phoenix.

"We felt he would be fine (to play),” said coach Scott Brooks. "I was hoping to introduce myself to him before I put him (in a game).”

What if Maynor had shown up at halftime instead of 45 minutes before tipoff?

"(I’d might have told him), ‘Nice to meet you. Now get in there and guard Steve (Nash),’” Brooks quipped.

The No. 20 pick in last year’s draft, Maynor is best known for hitting the game-winner to help Virginia Commonwealth beat Duke in the first round of the 2007 NCAA Tournament. In an intriguing twist, Maynor faces his former Utah teammates next week in the Ford Center on New Year’s Eve.

Serge Ibaka, who grabbed a career high 14 rebounds against the Lakers on Tuesday night, has been getting minutes in crunch time. Brooks, though, said he likes his current rotation and has no plans to change the starting lineup.

The past three games, heading into Wednesday’s matchup with the Suns, Ibaka was averaging 10.0 points, 9.0 rebounds and 1.3 blocks in 24.7 minutes.

"He’s long and athletic. He’s smart, too,” said Nick Collison. "He has a good feel where to provide help and still get back to his man. He’s going to be a real good defender the more he plays.

"He’s combining a lot of good things with his length and talent. Sometimes young guys don’t know what they’re doing. But he’s really starting to understand the game.”

Kevin Durant scored 30 points against the Lakers on Tuesday night but fouled out with 1:31 left.


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