PHILADELPHIA – Monday was one of those nights when Chandler Parsons wishes he could have been on the basketball court much longer.
It turned out to be a special night for Parsons, who was in one of those nice grooves players love because the basket looks like an ocean. But since he’s still under minute restrictions, Parsons was limited to 21 minutes during the Dallas Mavericks’ game against the Philadelphia 76ers.
And that almost wasn’t enough, as the Mavs blew a 19-point lead and had to hang on for dear life to beat the winless Sixers, 92-86, at the Wells Fargo Center.
After playing 17:51 in the first half, Parsons was limited to playing just 2:52 in the second half as he continues to try to get into game shape after undergoing offseason right knee surgery. But after being the only Mavs player resembling anything close to a hot hand in the first half – the other four starters combined for 11 first-half points – Parsons basically was chained to the bench for the balance of the second half.
How much of a challenge was that for coach Rick Carlisle to sit Parsons, who tallied 20 points in the first half on 8-of-10 shooting?
"There’s no challenge," Carlisle said. "He played two minutes in the second half and that was it, and then we had to pull the plug on him.
"There was no choice. He can play 20 minutes (by doctor’s orders), so he only played 43 seconds over it, which is OK. A minute or two here is OK.’’
What wasn’t OK is that no other Mavs player established an offensive rhythm in the first half, which made it difficult the Dallas to pull away and win a game against a team that has now dropped 21 contests in a row dating back to last season.
"I thought this was by far his best game,’’ Carlisle said of Parsons. "He wasn’t trying to do too much, shots came to him within the flow, and he was moving the ball beautifully.
"I thought it was more important for him to get a hard run in the first half, get his rhythm, get his conditioning, and he had it going in the first half. I felt our guys in the second half could get the job done.’’
Parsons also felt his teammates could get the job done in the second half. He just wishes he could have joined them when the game turned dicey.
"It’s frustrating, especially now in a close game like that when I got it going, you definitely want to play more,’’ Parsons. "But at the same time I’ve got to understand it’s a process and (the Mavs’ medical staff) knows what they’re doing.
"I don’t care if I had 40 in the first half, I know I’m coming out when I get to that 20-minute mark. Hopefully, maybe I can extend it a little more in Boston (on Wednesday) and see how it feels.’’
Overall, Parsons was 8-of-11 from the field. He also had five rebounds, one steal, one assists and one blocked shot, and had to leave the game briefly after he took a shot to his nose.
In his previous six games this season had 31 total points on 13-of-34 shooting while looking very rusty. On Monday, the rust was long gone.
"This is great that Parsons had this kind of game, because he hasn’t been having this kind of game,’’ Carlisle said. "He’s been having struggles, and our starting group has not been playing well together.
"But they played well together tonight, so that’s a real step in the right direction. But as far as his minutes, they are what they are.’’
It took a minute for the other Mavs to get into rhythm after Parsons departed. And that’s partly why the Sixers, despite being down 38-19 in the second quarter, was able to battle back and eventually take an 82-81 lead in this game.
The Mavs (7-4) desperately needed the hot-handed Parsons during a time when the other players just couldn’t get clicking.
"It was great to see him come out and play like that,’’ point guard Deron Williams said of Parsons. "He’s the big reason we got off to that great start in the first quarter.
"He got us going offensively, he looked great. It (is bad) for him and for us when a guy is that hot and he’s on a minutes restrictions to where he can’t finish the game off for us, but it is what it is.’’
Dwain Price can be heard every Wednesday from 3-4 p.m. on dfwiradio.com.