DALLAS – At some point this season, Chandler Parsons knew he had to sort of start swinging for the fences.
Parsons knows it’s going to take an inordinate amount of time before his surgically repaired right knee be close to the condition it was in before he injured it last season. And he knows that zip in his step he’s accustomed to having, well, that’s also going to take some time before it returns to form.
But the 17 points Parsons scored for the Dallas Mavericks during Monday’s 104-94 win over the Phoenix Suns at American Airlines Center gave him a sliver of hope that his total game may be returning sooner rather than later.
"It’s all about confidence right now,’’ said Parsons, who converted 5-of-10 shots in a season-high 28 minutes. "I am going to be rusty, I’m going to miss some shots and go through some slumps.
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"I’ve just got to stick with it.’’
Parsons stuck with it long enough to make a difference Monday night. After the Suns sliced a 23-point fourth-quarter deficit to 83-73 with 7:32 remaining, Parsons put on his Superman cape and came to the Mavs’ rescue.
First, Parsons drained a 3-pointer, was fouled by Sonny Weems, and proceeded to nail the free throw to complete the 4-point play. Coach Rick Carlisle walked the sidelines and was clapping after that important sequence.
Then a mere 21 seconds later, Parsons drilled yet another 3-pointer as the Mavs’ lead swelled to 90-73 with 6:48 left in the game and they went on to break a three-game home losing streak.
Those two huge baskets were major signs that Parsons may be climbing out of his slump. However, Carlisle cautioned all not to jump to any conclusions.
"Any stretches like that helps,’’ Carlisle said. "I’ve been through his situation with a different kind of injury as a player.
"You can’t get seduced into thinking that one good stretch of shot-making gets you there, and he knows that, and he and I have been talking about it. It’s a big rock and he’s just got to keep chipping away at that rock, and that’s’ how you do it. It takes an amazing amount of persistence and wherewithal to get through something like that.’’
The rock chipping continues for Parsons and the Mavs (14-11) on Wednesday when they play the Pacers in Indianapolis. But what Parsons was able to establish against the Suns – even if it’s just for one game – could finally be the break-through he’s been searching for all season.
"Parsons is a lot tougher guy than a lot of people think,’’ Carlisle said. "The whole world looks at NBA players’ productivity and they look at shot-making and points.
"I’ve been saying this for months: This process for him is going to be months. It could be a full year before he’s back to exactly where he wants to be tuned up to that level.’’
But it also could be sooner.
"You just don’t know -- it could be by January,’’ Carlisle said. "I don’t really know for sure.
"The one thing I do know is that when you keep attacking it the way he’s been attacking it – especially this past week, coming in (Sunday) and doing extra work and hanging in there and just going hard and doing things that really have nothing to do with scoring – then you’re going to get yourself eventually over the hump.’’
The Mavs were a plus-12 with Parsons on the court Monday in a sixth man role. That, too, is a baby step that Parsons and the Mavs are surely playing attention to.
This was the second-highest scoring game of the season for Parsons, who tallied a season-high 20 points against Philadelphia on Nov. 16. And this time of night was way overdue.
"It’s a long season and I just got to keep taking open shots, and no matter if I miss 10 or make 10 in a row, I’m going to continue to shoot the next one like it’s going in,’’ Parsons said. "So I was fortunate enough to hit some tonight in the fourth quarter and help us get this win.’’
Dwain Price can be heard every Wednesday from 3-4 p.m. on dfwiradio.com