For months, Chandler Parsons had been patiently waiting for the type of game he produced Wednesday night against the New Orleans Pelicans.
Waiting to prove that he still has it, that he still can take over a game when given the opportunity.
And waiting to prove that he no longer is restricted by the hybrid microfracture surgery he underwent on his right knee May 1.
That type of special game — the one where Parsons is at his point-forward best — surfaced Wednesday night when the Dallas Mavericks escaped Smoothie King Center with a surprising 100-91 triumph over the Pelicans.
Chandler Parsons was 9 of 16 from the field, going to the rim hard as he missed all five of his 3-point attempts.
Parsons finished with the best all-around game of the season as the fifth-year veteran collected season highs in points (21) and rebounds (eight), and also distributed six assists in 32 minutes.
“I just wanted to set the tone early and be aggressive and get us off to a good start,” said Parsons, who scored six points in the first quarter. “I was able to get to the rim and start making some plays from the beginning, and guys did a great job finding me.
“Coach put me in great spots and I stayed aggressive.”
Parsons was driving and attacking and finished the night 9-of-16 from the field. The path to the rim became even more apparent for Parsons, because he missed all five of his 3-point attempts.
“Every game I look to finish at the rim,’’ Parsons said. “Tonight I knew I was going to have to come out and be aggressive.’’
Coach put me in great spots and I stayed aggressive.
Mavericks forward Chandler Parsons on his best game of the season
Parsons’ complete game came one night after he left Tuesday’s home game against Sacramento with a right hip injury after he took a knee on an illegal screen from Kings center DeMarcus Cousins. Treatment ensued and continued for Parsons right up until game time.
Regular starters Dirk Nowitzki, Wesley Matthews, Zaza Pachulia and Deron Williams sat this one out after playing heavy minutes Tuesday in the 117-116 double-overtime win over the Kings.
That left Parsons as the lone regular starter on the floor against the Pelicans.
Yet he displayed the type of poise that earned him the three-year, $46 million restricted free agent contract the Mavs signed him to in the summer of 2014.
“I didn’t want to force anything, I didn’t want to put any more pressure on myself with four of our other starters out,’’ Parsons said. “I wanted to continue to play unselfish and play my game, but at the same time I definitely wanted to set the tempo and keep the defense honest.’’
Parsons scored 19 of his points in the first half, which ended with the Mavs down by a slim 50-49 margin.
And when Parsons’ offense dipped in the second half, many others were there to pick up the slack.
For instance, Raymond Felton tallied 17 of his team-high 22 points in the second half. That includes a 3-pointer as the 24-second shot clock expired with 41 seconds to play.
“Once I got a good look at it, the rest is history,” said Felton, who scored 12 of the Mavs’ 29 fourth-quarter points.
Dwight Powell (13 points, 10 rebounds, two blocks) had key baskets and rebounds and played solid defense on Pelicans superstar Anthony Davis.
History will also show that the short-handed Mavs received contributions from just about everybody who played Wednesday.
Dwight Powell (13 points, 10 rebounds, two blocks) hit some key baskets, grabbed some crucial rebounds and played solid defense on Pelicans superstar Anthony Davis. JaVale McGee maneuvered for eight points, six rebounds and four blocks.
Guards Devin Harris (10 points, six assists) and J.J. Barea (11 points) helped pick apart the Pelicans’ defense. Even Jeremy Evans (eight points, five rebounds) and rookie Justin Anderson (five points and four rebounds in 17 minutes) left an indelible impression on this game.
“The guy has played several D-League games,” coach Rick Carlisle said of Anderson. “He’s the first in the gym every day and the last guy to leave.
“The work paid off. He played an important role in this game.’’
What also was important for the Mavs was to come away with a victory after Tuesday’s emotional win over the Kings, when Williams hit a 3-pointer at the buzzer.
The Mavs ended their season series against New Orleans tied at 2-2. Saturday’s 105-98 home loss to the Pelicans didn’t sit too well with the Mavs.
“Just, first of all, this is a huge win for us,” Parsons said. “Dropping those [two to Miami and New Orleans] left a really sour taste in our mouth.”
Parsons got his turn guarding Davis, who finished with 26 points, 12 rebounds and seven assists.
I think he has a good feel for the identity of this team. He told us this morning, this by all means isn’t just a throwaway game.
Mavericks guard Devin Harris, on how coach Rick Carlisle approached the game
“I started on Davis, whoo, he’s great, man,” Parsons said. “He’s so long and he plays so many minutes.
“It’s like the guy never checks out of the game, so he’s always in there. I just tried to really defend him early on and I think that got my offense going — just focusing on trying to guard him.’’
While all that was going on, the Mavs know they won a game many thought they had no business winning. Not with four starters sitting.
“I think he has a good feel for the identity of this team,’’ Harris said of Carlisle. “He told us this morning, this by all means isn’t just a throwaway game.
“He expects us to play hard and really come out and challenge this team. And I think with the guys that we have, knowing what type of guys that were sitting out and what they bring to our team, it’s more than anything an opportunity for everybody else to really come out and bring more to the table and do more.’’