VOL. 131 | NO. 222 | Monday, November 7, 2016
Chandler Parsons Struggles in Debut as Grizzlies Lose to Portland
By Don Wade
-- Daily News File/Andrew J. Breig
Chandler Parsons knows what it is to have a hot shooting night. He’s had many in his NBA career and, as you may recall, back in January of 2014 made an NBA-record 10 threes in a half for the Houston Rockets.
Against the Memphis Grizzlies. In a game the Grizzlies still won.
But Sunday at FedExForum did not go like that at all. While Portland guard C.J. McCollum was tying his career high with 37 points and made 6 of 12 threes in the Trail Blazers’ 100-94 victory, Parsons was playing his five minutes per quarter and making nothing; the team limited his time because he is coming off a second knee surgery.
The Grizzlies signed Parsons this offseason to a four-year free agent deal worth more than $94 million. Obviously, they expect some nice passes and a certain amount of attention to defense for that kind of money, but they mainly are paying him to shoot. Specifically, from long distance.
Parsons went 0 of 8 overall and 0 of 3 from 3-point range, failing to score a point in his Grizzlies debut.
“Pretty much the only good news I got for you guys is my knee feels fine, which is awesome,” Parsons said. “It wasn’t pretty. Obviously, that’s not how you want to come out and play for the first time.”
But neither should this have been unexpected.
“I expected a lot of rust,” said Memphis coach David Fizdale. “He’ll get better as he gets more in tune with his teammates and he gets in game shape. I expect him to be fine.”
Center Marc Gasol agreed.
“Keep playing, keep playing, keep playing,” he said. “Let the game come to you, obviously. He knows that. We’re going to help him with easier shots. Everything’s going to be all right.”
Parsons says when he came back from the first surgery, he struggled to catch a rhythm. He also had added excitement this time because not only had it been so long since he had played, but it was his Grizzlies debut.
“I didn’t sleep very much,” he said. “I was anxious to get back out there. It’s been seven months since I played basketball so I didn’t expect to come out and dominate.”
In fact, Parsons said he could feel the game speeding up on him.
“Everything kind of felt fast,” he said. “Once we were going up and down a bit, my shot got a little flat. I got some decent looks, but you can’t really simulate game speed unless you’re playing so it was good to get back out there.”
•McCollum gave a tip of the cap to FedExForum for his hot shooting: “I love this place. Good lighting.”
•The Grizzlies had a 10-point lead, at 61-51, with 9:17 left in the third quarter. The game was tied 86-86 when Maurice Harkless hit a three to key a 9-0 Portland run. The Grizzlies cut the lead to 95-92 but after a McCollum three made it 98-92 it was never again a one-possession game.
•Fizdale, as he did after the loss to the Los Angeles Clippers, had criticism for the team’s defense and focus. “We were up 10, then I don’t know. We put on our cool coats and started throwing the ball all over the gym, taking random shots out of the offense, not getting back, defensive breakdowns all over the place.”
•Fizdale used only rookie Andrew Harrison to back up Mike Conley at point guard and left rookie Wade Baldwin on the bench. “Wade’s been struggling and I’ve got two young point guards,” Fizdale said. “Neither one of them has solidified the spot yet.”
•Zach Randolph had 15 points and seven rebounds in 20 minutes off the bench, but Fizdale again didn’t not go to him down the stretch. “I absolutely thought about going to Z-Bo,” said Fizdale. “Obviously, I’ve got to do an offensive/defensive thing because they hunt for Z-Bo on the pick-and-roll. Late in the game, with (Damian Lillard and McCollum), I didn’t want to put Z-Bo in that position. I have to find spots for him where I can put him in the right circumstances.”