What Ibaka is doing for the first string, Maynor is beginning to muster for the second.
Admittedly less assertive through the first three games while trying to integrate Kevin Martin, Maynor is now taken it upon himself more to provide scoring punch in the second unit. Similar to Ibaka, Maynor has increased his production over the past three games, averaging 10.7 points on 10-for-19 shooting (53 percent) after netting only three points per game on 4-for-11 shooting (37 percent) in the first three contests.
The turning point perhaps can be credited to a conversation Brooks had with his reserve point guard following a scoreless 12-minute performance in that stunner at home against Atlanta.
“I said: ‘We just have to be more aggressive, Eric. You can't just expect it to come to you and just play your minutes as if things are just going to work out. You've got to make things work out,'” Brooks said. “And I thought he's done a good job with that. He's been attacking, he's been taking his shot … and each game now he seems to be a little more comfortable.”
The Thunder seems to be settling in, too.
Oklahoma City had a season-low 17 turnovers and registered 21 assists, the fourth straight game that the Thunder has toppled 20 assists.
Defensively, the Thunder held the Pistons to 41.4 percent. But there clearly is room for improvement, as Brooks called the second half effort average after the Thunder held the Pistons to 38.6 percent shooting in the first half. Detroit scored 52 points on 44.2 percent shooting in the final 24 minutes and grabbed 12 of its opponent season-high 16 offensive rebounds after the break.
“We could be a lot better,” said Durant. “I'm never satisfied. It's a long season, and it's an up-and-down season, I know. But we could be a lot better. We just got to find a way to do it for 48 minutes as far as the energy is concerned.”