There’s no point in trying to put lipstick on a pig. (No, that’s not a fat joke about the small forward/jeans model who coach Rick Carlisle rudely suggested during the preseason should drop a few pounds, comments the coach apologized for a couple of days later.)
[+] EnlargeParsons performed about as poorly as the Mavs’ prized $46 million addition could have possibly imagined during Dallas’ 101-100 loss to the defending champion San Antonio Spurs. He scored only five points on 2-of-10 shooting, didn’t dish out any assists and bricked a potential game-winner in the final seconds.
“It sucks to play like that on the first game, but it’s only one of 82 games,” Parsons said. “It’s going to take some time getting used to play with everybody, but it’s just one of those nights where I couldn’t get anything to fall. I’ve got to be better.”
The Mavs can reasonably hope that this will be Parsons’ worst offensive outing of the season. Only four times during his three seasons with the Houston Rockets did Parsons make two or fewer field goals on 10 or more attempts.
Needless to say, none of those off nights drew nearly as much national attention as this stinker. That’s part of the bargain when a guy gets a 1,500-percent raise and emphasizes how much he looks forward to increased responsibility after being part of the supporting cast for James Harden and Dwight Howard in Houston.
Parsons, who never got in a groove despite Spurs starting small forward and reigning Finals MVP Kawhi Leonard watching from the bench due to an eye infection, has no problem with that.
“I’ve got to step up,” Parsons said. “I can’t have too many more nights like that. I’ve more than confident in myself. I’ll bounce back.”
The Mavs’ other big guns did their parts against the Spurs. Shooting guard Monta Ellis, who emerged as a surprisingly efficient scoring sidekick for Dirk Nowitzki after signing a three-year, $25 million deal before last season, led all scorers with 26 points and dished out six assists. Nowitzki scored eight of his 18 points in the fourth quarter and was 7-of-11 from the floor.
They just didn’t get any help from Parsons, who is expected to make an already elite offense even better. Not that anyone with the Mavs, who still had a chance to win despite the Spurs scorching the nets (14-of-28 3-point shooting), is searching for a panic button after Parsons has played .004 percent of his three-year contract.
Nowitzki noted that a few of Parsons’ shots went in and out. Carlisle and several players reminded reporters that this contest counted only once in the standings.
“He’s going to be fine,” Carlisle said. “I like an awful lot of the things that he did do.”
His next bucket didn’t come until 2:42 remained in the fourth quarter, when he stepped into a clutch 3-pointer like he’d had the hot hand all night.
Parsons didn’t hesitate to launch a 28-footer with the game on the line, either, despite Boris Diaw closing out on him. In hindsight, he should have. When Parsons reviewed video of the play, he saw that he had time to swing the ball to an open Ellis.
“But I’ll take that shot any day at the end of a game,” Parsons said. “I’ve got to step up and knock it down next time.”
Like most shooters, Parsons prides himself in having a short memory. His dreadful Dallas debut is definitely a night he’d like to forget.