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Thunder has a big piece back in Eric Maynor

COMMENTARY — Backup point guard's return from injury is as good as any free-agent pickup for the defending Western Conference champions.
by Berry Tramel Modified: October 16, 2012 at 9:52 pm •  Published: October 16, 2012

Eric Maynor went low at first, with one-handed bounce passes into the lane that freed Serge Ibaka for open shots.

Then Maynor went high, with floating lob passes to Nick Collison, Perry Jones III and Daniel Orton for dunks.

Your Thunder didn't sign an impact free agent in the offseason. It did something better. It welcomed back Maynor.

The Thunder beat the Charlotte Bobcats 120-98 Tuesday night in its first home exhibition game this season, and what a reminder of what the Boomers missed last season when Maynor went down with a knee injury nine games into the season.

A cool hand. A settling force. A silky facilitator in a land of Olympians and all-stars.

Maynor had seven assists and just one turnover in 19 minutes against the Bobcats. Ten points on 3-of-5 shooting. Even had five rebounds.

“Really good to see him out there,” Scotty Brooks said. “He's solid, as we all know. He makes good decisions. He facilitates the offense. He gets everyone involved.

“I thought we passed the ball as well as we have all training camp. The passing was contagious.”

Maynor says his knee is healed, and against the Bobcats it appeared to be.

“He's a big part of this team,” said teammate Daequan Cook. “Always has been. He's starting to get into his rhythm. We know what he's capable of. And he can do more.”

Maynor also said he's trying to wipe out the rust of not playing for nine months, though nothing about his game seemed rusty, unless it was defense.

“Weird, sometimes,” Maynor said of being back on the court. “Mainly, just getting out there, playing a real game. It's starting to pick up, become normal.”

So why does Scotty Brooks keep talking about the competition between Maynor and Reggie Jackson? Nothing against Mister October, but there's a reason Jackson wore a suit and bow-tie during the NBA Finals. A reason the Thunder in the playoffs basically used James Harden as its backup point guard.

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by Berry Tramel
Berry Tramel, a lifelong Oklahoman, sports fan and newspaper reader, joined The Oklahoman in 1991 and has served as beat writer, assistant sports editor, sports editor and columnist. Tramel grew up reading four daily newspapers — The Oklahoman,...
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