By Art Garcia, The Sports Xchange
DALLAS — Chandler Parsons didn’t mind the boos. Back in Dallas for the first time since spurning the Mavericks in free agency, Parsons had some fun with his return.
Especially after hitting a 3-pointer in front of Mark Cuban.
“I knocked it down and blew him a little kiss,” Parsons said. “It’s all in good fun.”
Parsons scored a team-high 12 points and the Memphis Grizzlies breezed by the Mavericks 80-64 Friday night at American Airlines Center.
The Grizzlies (7-5) finished their four-game trip with three straight wins to improve to 3-3 on the road this season.
Parsons, introduced to a smattering of boos, spent two injury-plagued years with the Mavs. The small forward thought he might get a negative reception after opting out of his contract with Dallas this past summer.
Parsons began this season on the mend and remains on a minutes’ restriction, but led the charge as Memphis began to pull away in the third quarter. He matched his season high in scoring and connected on three 3-pointers after making just two in his first five games.
Marc Gasol added 11 points and JaMychal Green pulled down 12 rebounds. Mike Conley scored eight in 29 minutes.
Grizzlies coach David Fizdale didn’t play any of the starters more than 32 minutes with Memphis heading home to complete a back-to-back Saturday night against Minnesota.
Grizzlies guard Tony Allen returned after missing the last four games with a strained right groin to score 11 off the bench. Zach Randolph had 10 points and eight boards.
The depleted Mavericks (2-9) have lost four in row. Dallas was without starters Dirk Nowitzki and Deron Williams, and key reserves J.J. Barea and Devin Harris.
The losing streak is the second-longest for the Mavs on the young season. They opened 2016-17 with five consecutive losses. Dallas last started 2-9 in 1998-99, Nowitzki’s rookie season.
The losses are taking a toll.
“We’ve been rebuilding ever since 2011, I see us in a pretty perpetual rebuild because we are a championship organization and that’s what we’re always striving to do,” Dallas coach Rick Carlisle said. “I don’t see us being in any different mode than we’ve been in, we’re very stressed right now because of injuries and we’re not playing well.”
Dallas’ leading scorer Harrison Barnes had a team-high 15 in the Mavs’ lowest-scoring game this season. Seth Curry scored 11 in his third start. Rookie guard Jonathan Gibson, signed earlier in the day, had 11 points in his NBA debut.
Baskets were hard to come by throughout the first half, as both clubs came out sluggish. Neither team reached 20 points in either of the first two quarters.
The Grizzlies took a 36-29 lead into the break despite shooting 36 percent. Gasol had a team-high nine points, and he banked his one 3-point attempt.
Dallas was even worse at 29 percent. Wesley Matthews and Curry combined for 17 points in the first half.
The Mavs nearly matched franchise lows for scoring (62) and shooting percentage (27.4). Dallas needed a late surge to get to 28.8 percent against the Grizzlies.
Fizdale saw improvement defensively as the game wore on.
“We stopped being friendly,” he said. “If you watched the first quarter, everybody was having conversations with the other team like they were all pals. And we don’t have the luxury to be buddies. I think we took it light like thinking they didn’t have their players.”
Dallas finishes a back-to-back Saturday with a trip to Orlando.
“We just have to keep the fight going,” Barnes said. “You can’t feel sorry for yourself. You can’t get down. The schedule doesn’t get any easier. We just have to bring the same fight we had tonight and make or miss, just keep the energy up.”