Chandler Parsons out for Game 2, maybe rest of Rockets series


Down 1-0 to the Rockets, the Mavericks are in a hole.

It might be even deeper than it appeared.

Eddie Sefko of The Dallas Morning News:

Chandler Parsons (right knee soreness) will be out tonight in Game 2 of the Dallas Mavericks’ first-round playoffs against Houston

Asked if he was concerned that Parsons might be lost for the series, Carlisle said: “I’m concerned, period. That does loom as a possibility, but we’ll know more (Wednesday). I will say this: it’s become clear to those of us close to the team and him that he’s been in more pain than he’s let on. The fact the knee has not responded and the swelling has not dissipated the way we hoped means we have to pull the plug on tonight and he’s got to see doc tomorrow and see what’s what.”

Carlisle also said that the Mavericks will not have Devin Harris for Game 2. He aggravated the big toe injury on his left foot in Game 1.

Parsons, a skilled all-around player, will be missed. There’ s a significant drop to Richard Jefferson, who will start at small forward.

Harris is both less talented than Parsons and has a lower drop to his replacement – a bigger role for J.J. Barea. But Harris fits Dallas’ offense well, and now Rick Carlisle has one less option for when Rajon Rondo’s fit issues become especially problematic.

PBT Extra matchup to watch: Dallas has to find a way to deal with Dwight Howard


There was rightfully a lot of talk over the weekend about how Derrick Rose looked all the way back for the Bulls. He did. But another guy battling injuries during a couple years looked like a force of nature as well last weekend:

Dwight Howard.

He was simply the most dominant player in Game 1 of the Mavericks vs. Rockets series. Dallas struggled to score when Howard was on the court. Mavs’ coach Rick Carlisle has to get Howard out of the paint (or in foul trouble) or this is going to be an uphill struggle for a Dallas offense that already doesn’t look comfortable when Rajon Rondo is on the court.

James Harden and Dwight Howard show Mavericks what they’re missing in Rockets’ Game 1 win


This is why the Mavericks wanted James Harden and Dwight Howard.

Dallas was linked to Harden’s restricted free agency that never was and strongly pursued Howard as an unrestricted free agent.

But the Rockets landed both, trading for and extending Harden in 2012 and signing Howard outright in 2013.

The result: A 118-108 Houston win over Dallas in Game 1 Saturday. The Rockets outscored the Mavericks by 14 in 10 minutes with Harden and Howard sharing the court and got outscored by four in the game’s other 38 minutes.

For much of the season, Harden built his MVP case as a one-man team – an assessment the Rockets embraced – with Howard injured. But Game 1’s result really shouldn’t be too surprising. Houston outscored opponents by 10.5 points per 100 possessions with Harden and Howard on the floor this season – which would lead the NBA most years.

Tonight, Howard looked more explosive than he has in quite a while – and showed it immediately. He blocked as many shots in the first five minutes as he did in any other 2015 game, and he continued to protect the rim and punish the Mavericks on the other end with quick finishes at the rim if they helped off him. The center finished with 11 points, five rebounds and five blocks in just 17 foul-limited minutes.

Harden (24 points, making 15-of-17 free throws) played his usual role as the offensive focal point, but he mixed in a bit more passing than usual. He dished 11 assists, setting up Terrence Jones (19 points, nine rebounds and six assists) more than anyone.

In a matchup that featured plenty of back and forth before the postseason even began, the Rockets have their first series lead since 2009. Of course, 1-0 means only so much, and you can bet it will remain tight between these closely linked Texas teams

Jason Terry (16 points on 4-of-7 3-point shooting) and Corey Brewer (15 points on 3-of-4 3-point shooting), both of won a championship with Dallas in 2011, made several key plays for the Rockets. Trevor Ariza (pursued by the Mavericks in free agency last summer) and Josh Smith (pursued by Mavericks after getting bought out by the Pistons in December) had their moments for Houston, too.

On the flip side, Dallas forward Dirk Nowitzki – once offered a max contract by Houston – had 24 points on 10-of-14 shooting and eight rebounds, but the Rockets exposed his defensive shortcomings. Chandler Parsons – plucked from Houston as the Mavericks’ prized offseason acquisition – was uneven and went to the locker room at one point with knee troubles that sidelined him late in the regular season. Rajon Rondo – pursued – pursued by the Rockets via trade before Dallas landed him – had a big second quarter to get the Mavericks back in the game, but his fit issues remain overwhelming.

There’s so much overlap between these teams, but here’s the key difference: The Rockets looked much better entering the series, and they were much better in Game 1. Where will Dallas go from here? As the Mavericks know all too well, James Harden and Dwight Howard aren’t walking through that door for them.

PBT Extra: Houston, Dallas simply do not like each other


Houston and Dallas both went after Dwight Howard. Chandler Parsons bolted Houston for Dallas, then called downtown Houston dirty. Mark Cuban and Daryl Morey snipe at each other through the media.

This is a rivalry, and it makes for an entertaining 2/7 series between the Rockets and Mavericks. On the court, there are questions about how much Rajon Rondo and James Harden can give. But the secret may be if Dallas can control their defensive boards.

Jenna Corrado and I talk about a Western Conference series that will be more interesting than these seeds normally put together. I’ll take Houston, but it will not be easy.

PBT First-Round Playoff Previews: Houston Rockets vs. Dallas Mavericks



Rockets: 56-26 (second place in Western Conference)
Mavericks: 50-32 (seventh place in Western Conference)
Houston won the regular season series 3-1.


Rockets: Patrick Beverley (wrist) hopes to return from surgery during this series, but that is far from a lock. Donatas Motiejunas is out for the playoffs (spinal surgery). K.J. McDaniels injured his wrist in the final game of the season, there is speculation it is broken and he will be out for the postseason.

Mavericks: Chandler Parsons is recovering from a knee injury, has been playing one-on-one and could return this series. You can be sure he wants to play his former team.


Mavericks: 107.2 points scored per 100 possessions (5th in NBA); 103.7 points allowed per 100 possessions (18th in NBA).
Rockets: 104.2 points scored per 100 possessions (12th in NBA); 100.5 points allowed per 100 possessions (6th in NBA).


1) Can James Harden be an efficient scorer in the playoffs? Harden is an MVP candidate because not only does he put up points — 27.4 points per game, second best in the NBA — but he did it with a true shooting percentage of .605. He shoots 37.5 percent from three; he is gifted at pressuring defenders and drawing fouls, then hitting his free throws. However, that efficiency has gone away come the playoffs the past couple seasons when defenses really focused on him in Houston — his true shooting percentage last season was .519 in the playoffs, below the league average that season. Will that happen again? Dallas did a relatively good job containing him in their meetings this season, the problem for the Mavericks is they couldn’t then slow the other Rockets.

2) Does the Rajon Rondo trade finally start to pay off for Dallas? This trade has not worked out for Dallas, or Rondo, like either side had hoped. When Rondo is on the court, the Mavs defense is marginally better than when he sits, but the offense drops five points per 100 possessions. His lack of shooting has killed the Mavs spacing. Plus, since coming to Dallas Rondo has turned the ball over on 22.6 percent of the possessions he uses — better than one in five trips down the court. That said, “Playoff Rondo” is a thing, he thrives on the bigger stage. The Mavs are going to need that Rondo in this series.

3) Can Dallas keep Houston’s big men off the offensive glass? This quietly could be a key to the series. Dallas grabs 72.2 percent of their defensive rebound opportunities, an unimpressive 29th in the league. Houston, on the other hand, grabs 26.8 percent of their missed shots as an offensive rebound, seventh best in the NBA. It’s not hard to envision how this plays out: Harden barrels down the lane and draws Tyson Chandler and pretty much every other Mavs defender, Harden misses his shot under that pressure but nobody is left to box out Dwight Howard or Terrence Jones, who get the putback dunk. If Dallas can’t keep Houston from getting second chance opportunities this is going to be a very difficult series for them.


This is the best rivalry in the first round — these teams don’t like each other and don’t hide it. It’s Dwight Howard choosing Houston over Dallas as a free agent and Mark Cuban calling it a mistake in judgment. It’s Chandler Parsons leaving Houston to sign with Dallas and the world finds out on Instagram. It’s Parsons calling downtown Houston “dirty.” It’s Mark Cuban and Daryl Morey taking shots at each other through the media. This is going to be fun.

This was the matchup Dallas most wanted, they match up better against Houston than they did San Antonio or the LA Clippers. Slowing Dirk Nowitzki is a nightmare for everyone and Houston is no exception. Monta Ellis is going to get his (at least in a couple games). And yet, it will not be enough — this is going to be a hard-fought, competitive series, but I’ll take the Rockets in seven.