DALLAS – At some point last month, Dallas Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle surveyed the situation and said he didn’t expect to see the old Chandler Parsons until sometimes after the All-Star break.
Then, to make Carlisle out to be a prophet, in his first game post-All-Star break, Parsons broke loose for 24 points on 9-of-11 shooting. That includes 6-of-7 shooting on 3-pointers during the Mavs’ 110-104 overtime loss to Orlando.
But Parsons has taken his game a couple of steps farther since his special outing against the Magic. In fact, in the last two games the fifth-year veteran small forward has 56 points on 20-of-32 shooting.
That includes 29 points on 10-of-15 marksmanship during Sunday night’s relatively easy 128-101 triumph over the Minnesota Timberwolves at American Airlines Center.
In analyzing what he’s seen from Parsons lately, Carlisle said: "It was going to take time. I’ve been talking about this all along and he’s come a long way.
"I don’t think we’re completely out of the woods yet, but you know what, he’s right there, and now it comes down to the ability to sustain. We have some spacing between games here right now, which is very helpful for him and some of our other veterans, and we’ve got to take advantage of it.’’
Parsons had a hybrid microfracture surgery on his right knee on May 1. The rehab period had its moments, including several bouts of minutes restrictions which frustrated Parsons, especially on nights when his shots were falling and he had to come out of the game.
"I didn’t touch a basketball for six months and I knew it was going to take some times,’’ Parsons said. "I was able to get back and that minutes restriction was tough – just trying to get a flow and trying to get into rhythm.
"It was sort of like I was ruining the team’s offense and flow just because I was sticking in there four minutes in and four minutes out. Now that I’ve gotten my regular minutes down and we have a set rotation, and I’m in game shape and as lean as I’ve been all season, I’m just confident and I’m playing at a high level right now and my teammates are doing a great job of finding me and getting me in good spots and I’m just knocking down shots.
From late in the second quarter to early in the third quarter Sunday, Parsons scored 13 consecutive points for the Mavs, who improved to 32-28 on the season.
"He really attacked well tonight,’’ Carlisle said. "We want him to be aggressive.
"Any player on our team is going to be a more effective offensive player if the team is getting stops. We were getting more stops tonight and that led to a good hot start as a team, and he was the recipient of that.’’
Because of Parsons, the Mavs had a season-high 34 assists against Minnesota, were one point shy of their single-season point total, and also were able to put together their largest margin of victory this season. In addition, with 10 points each from Dirk Nowitzki and Parsons, the 39 points the Mavs scored in the first quarter ties for their highest of any quarter this season and were the most points they’ve tallied in the first quarter since last season.
"I thought Parsons had a huge impact game offensively, which carried us once Dirk got in foul trouble,’’ Carlisle said. "So we went to him a lot and he delivered and played a really, really smart game.
"He’s one of many weapons and he’s clearly one of our best players. We need him in that attacking play-making mode and we need him to play solid and be resourceful on defense.’’