Now this: Chandler Parsons is out for the rest of the playoffs with a right knee injury and is exploring surgical options, the team has announced.
There is no timetable on Parsons or word if he can return by the start of next season.
Parsons was the big free agent the Mavericks poached from the Rockets last summer. Also, he was key for them in this series — he’s the guy who could spend time guarding James Harden and, more importantly, make Harden expend energy on the defensive end. Parsons played 36 minutes in the series opener and had 10 points, but wasn’t the factor Dallas needed him to be.
It feels like the end is coming for Dallas sooner rather than later in this first round series.
Report: Mavericks rule out Rajon Rondo indefinitely with “back injury”
We may have seen the last of Rajon Rondo in a Dallas Mavericks uniform.
Mavs’ coach Rick Carlisle yanked Rondo :36 seconds into the second half of Tuesday’s Game 2 loss to the Rockets, when Rondo picked up two fouls and a technical in just more than half a minute. Dallas was better off without him — he has played 37 minutes against the Rockets in two games and is a -35 on the court.
Now he is done, likely for the playoffs, reports ESPN’s Marc Stein.
ESPN sources says Mavs are ruling out Rajon Rondo indefinitely after back injury he sustained in Game 2
Reports have come out saying Rondo was playing through a sore back in the playoffs, then some contact he took during Game 2 aggravated the issue. Let’s say I’m skeptical it’s that bad, but this is the report.
Back injury or no, this is the smart play by Dallas. It says everything you need to know about how bad things have gotten with Rondo and the Mavericks that Dallas is just better when Raymond Felton is on the court instead of Rondo.
This also is almost certainly the end of Rondo in a Dallas uniform.
Dallas traded for Rondo back in December, giving up a quality young defensive big in Brandan Wright, for the chance to improve their perimeter defense. But from the start Rondo was a bad fit in Dallas. He and coach Rick Carlisle clashed over control of the offense. Plus Rondo’s lack of shooting — and his not being surrounded the quality of shooters he had when at his peak in Boston — allowed teams to pack it in and dare Rondo to shoot jumpers. Rondo still hasn’t developed a jumper.
Rondo will be moving on this summer. He’s not getting a max, and it will be interesting to see how many years a team would give him right now.
Playoff Rondo didn’t make the trip to Dallas, but it’s not like Rondo is sticking around
In the first half of Dallas’ Game 2 loss to Houston Tuesday, Rajon Rondo so nonchalantly walked the ball up the court — under no pressure from a defender — that he got an eight-second backcourt violation.
That lack of awareness and effort seems to sum up Rajon Rondo’s playoff effort in Dallas.
Playoff Rondo, who was a thing in Boston, did not make the flight to Texas.
Rondo has struggled to fit in with the Mavericks since coming to Dallas in a December blockbuster trade. He has clashed with coach Rick Carlisle, mainly about offensive freedom and control, with both sides having said they worked through it and that it was all good now. But the playoffs have a way of stripping away the latest coat of varnish and exposing things as they truly are — and it is clear Rondo is not a fit with what Dallas does. He makes them worse.
Rondo has played 37 minutes total in the first two playoff games this season and Dallas has been outscored by 35 points in that time.
Rondo picked up two fouls and a technical in the first :36 seconds of the second half Tuesday night. Carlisle promptly benched him, and Rondo didn’t see the court the rest of the game — because J.J. Barea and Raymond Felton were simply better. Carlisle and the Mavericks need to find a way to beat the Rockets (Dallas trails 0-2 in the series), and Rondo does not help that cause.
After the game, Rondo avoided the media while Carlisle largely dodged the Rondo question.
“You have to ask him (whether he cared about being benched),” Carlisle said in a postgame press conference broadcast on NBA TV. “All I know right now is that we need everybody at their competitive best. This isn’t about one guy who did or didn’t play. This is about everybody pulling in the same direction for the organization. That’s what it’s about.”
The other thing that has become clear: Rondo is gone from Dallas this summer.
He is an unrestricted free agent, and there will be no shortage of suitors — expect the Lakers among others to reach out. But it will be interesting to see if any GM still will offer him the max deal Danny Ainge had said Rondo deserves. Not likely, not even in this “market max” year where some guys will get overpaid. Rondo’s playoff performance likely ensured that. Maybe more interesting, how many years will Rondo be offered? He seems to have lost some of his explosiveness following years of injuries (including a bad ACL one), which hurts both his offensive penetration and his defense. Combine that with a lack of outside shooting and Rondo destroys offensive spacing.
That’s what has him on the bench in Dallas, and he may not see the court much at all the rest of this series. Dallas doesn’t want to be one-and-done in the playoffs.
But Rondo wants to be one-and-done in Dallas. And it shows.
Smoove operators: Josh Smith, Dwight Howard lead Houston past Dallas to 2-0 series lead
Josh Smith and Dwight Howard were reliving their old AAU teammates days together.
Smith had seven fourth-quarter assists — five were lobs to Howard for rim-rattling dunks. Most of that came during a 19-4 fourth quarter Houston run where Smith’s passing carved up the slow feet of the Dallas defense. This was an 84-84 game early in the fourth quarter before the Smith-inspired Rocket Run.
Combine that run with 28 points and 12 boards from Howard, plus 24 points from James Harden, and you have a 111-99 Houston win Tuesday in Game 2. That puts the Rockets up 2-0 in the series as it shifts to Dallas — and puts the Mavericks in a must-win situation Friday night in Game 3.
Tuesday night Dallas was without Chandler Parsons due to injury, and they missed his defense on Harden.
This was also a game where — once again — Rajon Rondo was utterly ineffective for Dallas. To the point that after he picked up two fouls and a technical in the first :34 seconds of the second half Mavs coach Rick Carlisle never put him back in the game. Rondo has killed Dallas’ spacing (not just this playoff, since he came to town) and they were better with J.J. Barea on the floor (he had 13 points on 14 shots). Barea came in and Dallas hung around. Rondo was nowhere near his vintage self — he walked the ball up so slowly in the first half he got an eight-second backcourt violation — and after the game Carlisle dodged the questions about Rondo’s impact and how much they play him going forward (Rondo did not speak to the media). If one thing has become perfectly clear in these playoffs it’s that Rondo will not be a Maverick next season. However, in the 36 minutes Rondo has played in the two games in this series, Dallas is -37. If Devin Harris is healthy for Game 3 Rondo may not see the court.
If one thing has become perfectly clear in these playoffs it’s that Rondo will not be a Maverick next season.
Meanwhile, Rockets’ coach Kevin McHale went to his mid-season pickup in Smith and got a monster performance. Remember, this is the Smith that Stan Van Gundy waived and essentially paid to go away from his team.
Smith came in and scored seven straight points at one point in the third quarter, then ran a nice pick-and-roll with Howard, making the pass to set him up (Howard was fouled). Smith finished with nine points in the third quarter, 15 for the game.
Because Smith was feeling it, Tyson Chandler and other Mavs defenders gravitated toward him, and Smith carved up Dallas with his passing. Dallas just had a lot of minus defenders on the floor at the same time in the fourth quarter, and they lost guys and didn’t rotate on Houston cuts. It kept leaving Chandler in an impossible situation — watch Smith dunk, or get in his way and watch him lob to Howard for the dunk. Bottom line is the Mavericks shot 10-of-12 in the paint in the fourth quarter as they put on a dunking exhibition.
Howard, a dominant force early in Game 1, was not the same early in Game 2 — he was 2-of-6 shooting in the first half, had a few rebounds, and picked up two immature fouls that had him on the bench. Clint Capela stepped in with another solid performance in the first half. It was an uneven, back-and-forth first half that ended with Houston up 53-51. It wasn’t exactly art as both teams shot less than 40 percent.
In the third quarter, the Rockets started to find their groove. However, Monta Ellis came on with 11 points in the third quarter for Dallas — including a 30-foot buzzer-beater at the end of the quarter — and the Mavericks were right there, down by one after three. Ellis finished the game with 25 points. Dirk Nowitzki had 10 points on 3-of-14 shooting. It wasn’t the big German’s night.
The fourth quarter was just too much Smith and Howard reliving their glory days. Dallas could not match their energy or execution (the Mavericks shot just 37 percent on the night).
Houston looks to be in control of this series — Dallas would need to win four of five to take it — and while Carlisle may figure out the questions that Houston poses, he may not have the right players to answer.