With nearly 40 friends and family members cheering, Chandler Parsons used the third quarter Friday to show why the Dallas Mavericks signed him to a three-year, $46 million contract in July.
Parsons scored 15 of the Mavs’ 29 third-quarter points en route to a 117-92 victory over the Orlando Magic at Amway Center in the preseason finale for both teams.
Parsons finished with a game-high 24 points in 25 minutes. It was an enjoyable homecoming for Parsons, who graduated from high school in Winter Park, Fla., which is 20 miles from Orlando.
“It’s always fun playing here,” said Parsons, who was 8-of-13 from the field. “It’s probably my favorite place to play just because I’m from here and I have so many friends and family that are able to come and watch me. It’s just a different vibe knowing they’re here.”
The Mavs had a different vibe in the second half. After leading 57-46 at intermission, they rolled in the second half and appeared ready for Tuesday’s regular-season opener in San Antonio.
“I thought our first half was a little below average for what we’re capable of,” coach Rick Carlisle said. “The second half was much better.”
It also was a homecoming for guard Jameer Nelson, who spent his first 10 seasons with the Magic before signing a free-agent contract with the Mavs in July. At the first timeout Friday, a video tribute to Nelson was played on the Jumbotron as the Magic organization and the fans praised him for a decade of service.
“My coach was drawing up a play,” said Nelson, who finished with four points and seven assists. “As bad as I wanted to greet the fans and thank them, we’ve got a game.”
Dirk Nowitzki scored eight of his 16 points in a sluggish first quarter for the Mavs. By then, they had committed nine turnovers and were behind 27-25.
But with Nowitzki adding eight more points in the second half, followed by seven from Parsons and six from Tyson Chandler, the Mavs were able to establish some breathing room and that 11-point lead at the half.
For a team with high expectations, that wasn’t enough.
“We’ve still got to get better,” said Nowitzki, who played 23 minutes. “I like what we did tonight in the second half defensively rotating for each other, and with Tyson helping at the rim and the other guys rotating around him.”
“If we keep that up and get even better — then we can run and move the ball offensively — I think we’re going to be tough to beat.”