DALLAS –- Dallas Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle canceled the shootaround Sunday morning, but it didn’t stop Chandler Parsons from coming to the gym anyway.
The starting small forward is working out a few kinks in his first season with the Mavericks and he thought it best to get a few more shots up on his own. A few hours later, Chandler scored a game-high 28 points to lead Dallas to a 125-102 victory over the Milwaukee Bucks at American Airlines Center.
“I’m just getting more comfortable,” he said. “Every single game, every single practice I get to know these guys better, get to know the system better. It’s all new to me. It’s all been different, it’s all been a crazy experience, but I love the way we’re playing.”
The Mavericks (16-6) won for the fifth time in six games, and they beat the Bucks (11-11) for the second time in five days. Dallas improved to 6-1 in its past seven matchups with Milwaukee, sweeping the season series in back-to-back years for the first time since the 1980s.
Parsons scored 28 points on 11-of-14 shooting, knocking down four 3-pointers in an efficient 31 minutes.
“I got a couple of easy ones early and I think when that happens you gain confidence and it seems like you can throw a lot of things in there,” Parsons said. “My teammates did a great job finding me and I’m going to knock down some shots.”
Power forward Dirk Nowitzki, who sat out the two-point triumph at Milwaukee last week, shot 8-for-12 from the floor and scored 21 points. Shooting guard Monta Ellis added 19 points for Dallas, which shot a sizzling 58.3 percent (49-for-84) as a team.
All five Milwaukee starters scored in double figures, led by forward Giannis Antetokounmpo’s 18 points. Point guard Brandon Knight had 16 points and five assists, and rookie forward Jabari Parker scored 15.
First-year Bucks coach Jason Kidd wasn’t pleased with the effort from his young squad, which has turned some heads with its solid start to the season.
“Turnovers, second shots, we didn’t play hard,” he said. “One thing we lay our hat on is that we come out and play hard, the first 21 games tonight was a factor of us not playing hard. Dallas took full advantage of that.
“This is the first time we didn’t play hard. When you look around the league or you hear people talk about the Bucks, the first thing they say is we play hard. And tonight we didn’t do that.”
Despite being the third-leading scorer on the league’s highest scoring team, Parsons has struggled at times fitting into Dallas’ system. The extra work Sunday morning didn’t go unnoticed by Carlisle.
“He’s getting more accustomed to his teammates and vice versa,” Carlisle said. “When you work hard like that, good things are going to happen.”
The Bucks, down 13 to start the third, made a push behind a 12-2 run and got within 73-67. The Mavericks finished the quarter with a 3-point flurry and a 17-4 spurt, and Dallas led 90-71 going into the final 12 minutes.
Milwaukee didn’t threaten in the fourth.
“In the middle of the third, the game got away from us, offensively and defensively,” Kidd said. “So at the end of the third, they put it away, but that’s what good teams do. That’s what Dallas is. But this is a great tool for us to learn from, understand what it means to close the door when you have a lead.”
Dallas went into halftime up 59-46 behind Parsons and Nowitzki. Those two made a combined 12 of 16 shots from the floor and scored 32 points before the break, 17 coming in the first quarter.
The Mavericks took control with a 12-0 run in the opening period for a 24-11 lead, and they were in front 32-21 going into the second quarter.
Knight had 11 points at the half for the Bucks, who enjoyed a 16-point difference (32-16) in scoring in the paint. Milwaukee ended up outscoring Dallas 68-48 inside for the game.
NOTES: Jason Kidd, the starting point guard on the Mavericks’ 2011 championship team, wasn’t part of the title defense the following season. Fast forward to this season, when C Tyson Chandler and G J.J. Barea, who also left following the Finals, rejoined the Mavs. “I just wonder (without) the shortened (2011-12) season if we would have brought them back,” Kidd said. “Tyson was very comfortable when he was in Dallas the first time, and you can see he’s very comfortable playing with Dirk (Nowitzki). It’s a great combination. And J.J. looks like he hasn’t lost a step. He still looks like the guy who was there when we won the championship.” … Dallas coach Rick Carlisle said the Mavs wouldn’t have won that title without Kidd. “He was a huge part of that whole thing,” Carlisle said. … Bucks C Larry Sanders was back in the starting lineup after coming off the bench Friday due to illness.
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