In his assessment of the Dallas Mavericks’ first month of the season, Donnie Nelson realized there were at least four winnable games they left on the table.
The Mavs lost to an 0-6 New Orleans team that played the second half without Antony Davis. They lost to an Oklahoma City squad that played without Kevin Durant.
The Mavs lost to a Memphis team that played without All-Star Zach Randolph. And they built a 14-point lead at Sacramento on Monday night, but wound up losing to the Kings 112-98.
Losses like those could mean the difference in making the playoffs and making early vacation plans.
“Yeah, you don’t want to look back at the end of the season and be a game-and-a-half from this or that and you look back at those games,” said Nelson, the Mavs’ president of basketball operations. “So those are certainly ones that we would have preferred to have than not.”
The Mavs entered Tuesday’s game at Portland at 10-8. Considering they had so many players who missed training camp, Nelson is pleased with what he’s seen.
“Everyone goes through their patches at the beginning of the season,” he said. “Looking at our schedule I definitely would have taken .500 at this point and time.
“But the reality is when you have a good start, it’s like anything else — you get greedy in a good way and you want to go out there and win more.”
Parsons’ tough time
Chandler Parsons was visibly upset when he left Monday’s game at Sacramento with 10:53 left after he had just drilled a 3-pointer to pull the Mavs within four points.
Donnie Nelson can relate to Parsons, who is on a minutes restriction as he recovers from off-season right knee surgery.
“It’s frustrating for all of us,” Nelson said. “But look, when your medical staff says something you better listen. Otherwise something crazy could happen and you could lose him for the whole year.”
Parsons scored a team-high 14 points on 5-of-8 shooting in 24 minutes.
“I obviously wanted to play, especially in a close game like this I want to be out there,” said Parsons, who sat out Tuesday.
“... But you’ve got to be smart at the end of the day and be a professional about it.”