Since returning to the court after missing seven games with an ankle injury, Chandler Parsons has played some of his most inspired basketball of the season for the Dallas Mavericks.
In the four games since the injury, Parsons is averaging 20.5 points and five rebounds, and has converted 30 of 49 shots for a sizzling 61.2 percent. He also is 10-of-13 from the free-throw line and 12-of-20 from 3-point range.
The 82 points is Parsons’ second-best four-game stretch with the Mavericks besides the 93 points he scored from Dec. 5-10 against Phoenix, Milwaukee, Memphis and New Orleans.
The Mavericks were 3-4 when Parsons was in street clothes, but they are 3-1 since his return to the court.
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Parsons insists nothing has changed for him since he returned after suffering a sprain and a bone bruise to his left ankle against the Houston Rockets on Feb. 20. The Mavericks (42-25) just hope he brings his red-hot hand to American Airlines Center when they play the Orlando Magic (21-48) at 7 p.m. Wednesday.
“I’m just kind of making shots which opens up the floor,” said Parsons, who had 31 points Monday on 10-of-14 shots against Oklahoma City. “When I hit early shots like that, I kind of stay away from the shot-fake because they’re already running out, so I just kind of catch and go.
“I’m just trying to take what’s there, but at the same time be aggressive and just be a threat out there.”
Historically known to have a flat jumper, Parsons has worked with coach Rick Carlisle in mechanically developing more arc on his shots.
“Sometimes I fade away, sometimes I don’t hold my follow through,” Parsons said. “But the main thing is when I’m catching the ball keeping it high and not bringing it down low and having all this margin for error. It makes it more of a compact shot. I’ve always had issues with my shot being flat, so I’m just trying to get it up as high as possible.”
Part of the reason the Mavericks gave Parsons a three-year, $46 million free agent contract in July was because they wanted him to provide much-needed scoring at small forward that was lost with the departure of Shawn Marion. The strategy has paid off, although the recent ankle injury served as a bump in the road.
“Every day he gets a little more traction with his recovery,” Carlisle said. “He’s not 100 percent, but he’s doing better and better, his rhythm is better, his conditioning is better. Right now, he’s doing a lot of good things at both ends. He’s shooting the ball well, he’s driving it, he’s making plays and defensively he’s scrambling around and getting a few rebounds, too.”
The Mavericks also are dabbling with Parsons more as a point forward. That strategy worked well before the Dec. 18 arrival of point guard Rajon Rondo.
“Like I said, I think that’s one of my strengths as a player is to be able to have the ball in my hands and to create plays for others and to get in the lane and cause some havoc,” Parsons said. “I think we have such a balanced team that it definitely gives us another good option, and when I get going like that things come easy.
“I think I’m a pretty established player in this league and can get some stuff done out there. I’m not asking for the offense to be run through me, but definitely I think when I get touches, our offense can be really good and really effective, especially when I get going like I did [Monday] night.”
Dwain Price, 817-390-7760