As he leaned against the door frame outside the team offices Thursday afternoon, Chandler Parsons’ disappointment was plainly evident.
His Dallas Mavericks teammates, backed against a proverbial wall, will face the seemingly unstoppable Houston Rockets on Friday night.
Parsons, meanwhile, will face knee surgery after final doctor consultations next week.
“I’ve never had a injury before, never had surgery,” the 26-year-old forward said. “I’m just nervous and worried.
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“It’s just an uncomfortable, frustrating feeling.”
Clearly, Parsons dearly wanted to play against his former team, the Rockets, in the first round of the NBA playoffs. That’s why he signed a max contract with the Mavericks in the off-season.
As he admitted, “This year has been up and down. But we haven’t lost the series yet. We’re still in the playoffs.
“I don’t regret my decision at all coming here. I want to build forward. I want to be here for a really long time.”
His words, delivered somberly, should provide a fitting echo, as coach Rick Carlisle’s team tries to salvage the best-of-seven series.
It was hard not to compare Parsons’ farewell to the silence of Rajon Rondo, disappearing into the NBA night.
Rondo came with baggage — and left like a selfish quitter, showing his figurative butt to his teammates and to the people who run the Mavericks.
The same people who believed in him. Amazingly, some of them still believed in him to the end.
“Yeah, his back hurts,” Parsons said Thursday, when asked about Rondo.
It was a good line, whether Parsons meant it sarcastically or not.
The timing of Rondo’s final funk is what is unsettling. Who waits until the playoffs, when Charles Barkley can bury you on TV, to lay down like a dog?
Oddly, you may remember, it’s happened here before. Dick Motta and Mark Aguirre staged a similar stand-off during the 1986 playoffs.
And it’s not the first time that a player has put on a Mavericks uniform — and then failed to remember what comes next. The Lamar Odom and Derek Fisher fiascoes come to mind.
But while we can officially pronounce the Rondo-from-Boston trade a big-crater failure, it’s not like he leaves a conspicuous void. Rondo never made much of an impact to matter.
At his best, maybe he was one of the team’s best four players. But when was he ever at his best here? Especially lately.
The Mavericks, indeed, look like a beaten team as the series resumes at American Airlines Center. But that’s what happens sometimes when you open against a hungry NBA playoff team on the road.
“Just stay the course,” Parsons said of the weekend’s war plan. “All we’ve got to do is what we’re supposed to do and protect home court.
“We definitely feel like we can still win this series. We’ve gotta get this one [Friday] night. And the crowd will be great. Everyone will be into it.”
The season stats show that in his first season with the Mavericks, Parsons played in 66 regular season games. Before the knee, there was a sprained ankle that sidelined him for seven games.
Boy, the Houston Rockets look great. They don’t seem to miss Chandler Parsons at all.
But signing Parsons was still the right off-season move for Mark Cuban and the franchise. He remains part of the team’s future, a future that still includes Tyson Chandler, Monta Ellis and a 36-year-old Dirk Nowitzki who can still star on a given night as he heads for the Hall of Fame.
Parsons tried to play in Game 1 in Houston, even though he suspected that only surgery would fix his swelling knee.
No sense wasting any more words on the one guy who quit and left silently, the one who never made an impact here anyway.
Gil LeBreton, 817-390-7697