DALLAS – Chandler Parsons stood waiting in the corner before receiving a pass and rising up for a back-breaking three midway through the third quarter on Friday night.
He splashed it in as the Grizzlies piled onto a struggling and broken Mavericks team. He stared down Mark Cuban sitting in his usual seat on the baseline and gestured toward him.
You’d think at this point the American Airlines Center would be roaring in boos or groans. Parsons ended his Mavs career on a sour note and, fair or not, had been stuck with the reputation of a diva. The reaction to Parsons drilling a dagger three was somehow worse than loud disapproval.
It was mostly silence.
That’s what stuck out the most in Parsons’ return to Dallas. A nearly-empty arena watched sitting on their hands and barely scoffed. A bad crowd and a bad game. The most eventful thing about Parsons’ return was how uneventful it was. Apathetic would be the best way to describe it.
Dallas lost 80-64. It was a historically terrible night on offense, which barely escaped setting a franchise low for points in a game. If you were to tell me before the game Parsons would come back to Dallas and lead the Grizzlies in scoring in a blowout win, I would have figured the roof on the AAC would be burning down.
Parsons did lead the way in scoring, but only 12 in just 23 minutes. The Grizzlies did beat the Mavericks handily, but it was more to do with the Mavs being down to scraps at the end of the roster trying to fill in the gaps for the missing Dirk Nowitzki, Deron Williams and J.J. Barea. The DeAndre Jordan game, this was not.
It felt boring, despite Tim MacMahon’s report earlier in the day on ESPN that broke down every crucial detail from the breakup. There were no signs on Friday night mocking Parsons bromance with Cuban, no taunting video from the Mavs media staff or any loud boos directed toward Parsons throughout the night. He was announced so quickly in the Memphis starting lineup that all 500 of the Mavs fans that made it before tip-off could barely open their mouth before the Mavs PA announcer moved on to the next player. Judging by how they weakly responded to Parsons during the game when he touched the ball, I doubt lingering on Parsons announcement would have made a difference.
Mavs fans probably have more on their mind than worrying about Parsons and the past. Seeing how rapidly the Mavs are piling up losses, they’re most likely looking toward the future, which is likely to include a top-5 draft pick.
They’re looking at Harrison Barnes development into becoming the guy after Dirk – the guy that Parsons was supposed to be.
When it finally, mercifully ended, the postgame reaction was just as timid. Cuban and Parsons shared a brief moment on the floor and Parsons left for the locker room. Rick Carlisle talked for a little over three minutes and Parsons wasn’t mentioned once since Rick talked about him pregame.
The Mavs locker room was nearly empty as Barnes answered questions about the floundering offense. In the Grizzlies locker room Parsons was relaxed. He answered a couple questions and was on his way – what more did he really need to say?
He did talk about that gesture he directed toward Cuban.
“I knocked it down and blew him a little kiss,” he said with a grin. “I’m sure he wasn’t too thrilled about it.”
Then away he went. Exiting almost as quickly as he arrived. The Parsons revenge game was over and I’m not even sure it actually happened. It was just another loss in what is quickly becoming a lost season.