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.
“We're always looking for ways to improve our team,” Brooks said. “If Reggie beats him out, it's Reggie's job. And vice versa.”
OK. And if Daequan beats out Kevin Durant, it's Daequan's job.
But the sight of Maynor back in Thunderwear, slicing up a defense after Russell Westbrook has worn it out, showed us one way the Thunder can make progress in 2013.
Even by spending money it couldn't afford, the Thunder would not have brought in a player, any position, to match the impact Maynor's return will have.
The Thunder won the West without one of the eight players who would have been in the rotation against the Heat. Derek Fisher, imported in March to provide veteran leadership and point guard relief, did the former but not the latter.
Maynor is a much more impactful player than was Fisher.
Maybe Brooks is just playing the motivation game. Pushing Jackson, who is athletic and has loads of potential and might be the backup point of the future, all the while pushing Maynor, too.
But even Brooks admits what he has in Maynor.
“He's a heady point guard,” Brooks said. “An old school point guard. He just has a good connection with all the players. Everybody seems to really enjoy playing with him. You can see it on the floor.”
Brooks calls Maynor a coach on the floor, in the locker room and in the huddle. Sounds like Fisher's persona with Maynor's game. Sounds like a ballplayer.
Berry Tramel: Berry can be reached at (405) 760-8080 or at firstname.lastname@example.org. He can be heard Monday through Friday from 4:40-5:20 p.m. on The Sports Animal radio network, including FM-98.1. You can also view his personality page at newsok.com/berrytramel.