Tuesday Bolts – 1.10.12

Zach Lowe of SI.com on Maynor’s injury: “Again, Maynor’s not a star, but he can create off the dribble, pass well and space the floor, and guards who can do all of those things are valuable. Along those lines, Maynor’s absence gives Brooks fewer options for small lineups in which Durant plays power forward. Those lineups have been ridiculously effective offensively for the Thunder, and the ones Brooks leaned on most did not include Maynor (though a few did). When an opposing team facing one of those small lineups hid one of its two big men on Sefolosha, you couldn’t help but wonder where they would hide that big man had Maynor been in the game instead.”

Cool gesture by some Thunder fans sending Eric Maynor cupcakes and balloons.

Tom Haberstroh of ESPN.com says OKC is the fourth best team: “I think they’ll end up at No. 2 by season’s end but have to dock them for double-digit losses to Dallas and Portland. The Eric Maynor loss will hurt, too. The late-game heroics from Kevin Durant just aren’t sustainable, as much as I love watching the shots — and hitting the rewind button 100 times over.”

The 411 on the Thunder’s current status.

Gregg Popovich on using sixth men: “It’s something we argue all the time. In Dallas, they do it, too, with (Jason) Terry. I think with the way the game is played now in the NBA, to have that guy who can come off the bench and be that troublesome is really an advantage. But a lot depends on if you can find a player who really understands the value of that for the success of the basketball team. A lot of guys, they just have to start. They just can’t do it. Can’t come off the bench. Obviously, the three guys we mentioned understand the value for the team is huge. And usually, those guys are playing against the second-tier guys and that makes it even better for them. And it takes some heat, some pressure off guys like, in your case, (Russell) Westbrook and (Kevin) Durant. (Harden) can come in there and score and they don’t have to do it all the time. So it spreads the wealth and it also makes teams happy when the wealth gets spread around.”

Jeff Green had his surgery yesterday.

Tom Ziller of SB Nation ranks OKC No. 2: “The Thunder were the first time to win back-to-back-to-back, taking a pair from the Rockets before running down the Spurs. The loss of Eric Maynor will force Reggie Jackson to learn on the fly, but OKC has nothing if not superior depth.”