The Dallas Mavericks were without their star Wednesday night, as Dirk Nowitzki sat this one out(and perhaps more) with knee swelling. To win, Mavs fans knew someone was going to have to step up. And the handsome one stepped forward.
Chandler Parsons is back
Late last season, there was a stretch of games where Dirk and Monta Ellis both either were out or hampered, and so we got to see what life might be like with Chandler Parsons as the featured weapon on offense. It looked pretty damn good, but ended all too quickly as Parsons went down with the injury that would ultimately require a hybrid microfracture surgery to fix. Now, almost eight months later, we got yet another glimpse, with Dirk on the bench and any minutes restrictions a thing of the past. Parsons responded with a season-high 30 points and 8 rebounds in 46(!) minutes. The Mavs only made five threes on the night, and Chandler Parsons was responsible for three of those makes, but it was in the lane where he did his real damage. Dallas used a lot of screen-action to get him the ball on the move toward the rim, and Minnesota had no answer. One shouldn't overreact to a single game, but this was an extremely encouraging performance.
Mavericks get another late comeback
This is turning into something of a pattern, but the Mavs were down once again late, falling behind by 10 points with six and a half minutes left. It took yet another overtime to determine the final outcome, but like the Celtics and Kings games Dallas hit the shots when the mattered most. The Wolves may not be as impressive a club as the Bulls or even the Celtics, but make no mistake: they are a talented group. Rookie Karl-Anthony Towns put on a show with a ludicrous 27 point, 17 rebound, 6 block effort, and Andrew Wiggins added 23 points as well. Minnesota is a long, athletic bunch that made Dallas work for what they got. Without Dirk, this was an important win for the good guys.
Shooting woes continue for the Mavericks
As mentioned above, Dallas went just 5-25 from three in this game, and just 43% from the field overall. Fortunately, Dallas was able to rack up some points in the paint (58), and limit their turnovers (11), keeping things within striking distance until a late run could tie it up. Atop the heap of disappointments were Charlie Villanueva, who got his fourth start of the season but went 5-14 (0-4 from three) and was glued to the bench down the stretch, and J.J. Barea, who went scoreless and committed a couple of ugly turnovers. Devin Harris was the lone bench bright spot, scoring 15 points. Surprisingly, Dwight Powell played just three minutes and both Jeremy Evans and John Jenkins saw no game action, even with Dirk and Felton sidelined.
On a night where Houston lost to Detroit, Dallas avoids nearly dropping a game most probably expected them to take handily. Hurry back, Dirk.