Eric Maynor looks like himself in Thunder's loss

While reporters in Chicago were asking him about Derrick Rose, the Thunder point guard let his game do most of the talking.
by Darnell Mayberry Published: October 23, 2012
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photo - Chicago Bulls center Joakim Noah (13) blocks the shot of Oklahoma City Thunder center Kendrick Perkins during the first half of an NBA preseason basketball gam, Tuesday, Oct. 23, 2012, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast) ORG XMIT: CXA104
Chicago Bulls center Joakim Noah (13) blocks the shot of Oklahoma City Thunder center Kendrick Perkins during the first half of an NBA preseason basketball gam, Tuesday, Oct. 23, 2012, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast) ORG XMIT: CXA104

Maynor has made similar plays since early September, when Thunder coach Scott Brooks knew once and for all that his best playmaker was back. Still, repetition is required for Maynor.

“It takes you a couple of games (to trust the knee),” said Perkins, who famously fell victim to his own knee injury in Game 6 of the 2010 Finals. “But once you get the rhythm, it just takes that one breakout game before you get back to going.”

Maynor has had better performances this preseason than his 13-point, two-assist effort against the Bulls. But playing without Westbrook and Kevin Durant, who also got the night off, Maynor and the Thunder were short on threats to keep Chicago's swarming defense in check.

More importantly, Maynor's range of motion and mobility has returned. Neither seemed burdensome even while covering a bigger, stronger guard in Kirk Hinrich or a smaller, quicker guard in Nate Robinson. Maynor fought over ball screens and chased his man on off-ball screens. He changed direction without hesitation and attacked with confidence when necessary.

“He still dictates the game, looks for his shot when he's open and makes great decisions,” Harden said. “Obviously he has to get back into a feel. But these last few weeks he's done a great job of getting there. And I think as time goes on he's going to feel more comfortable out there on the court.”

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by Darnell Mayberry
OKC Thunder Senior Reporter
Darnell Mayberry grew up in Langston, Okla. and is now in his third stint in the Sooner state. After a year and a half at Bishop McGuinness High, he finished his prep years in Falls Church, Va., before graduating from Norfolk State University in...
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