Chandler Parsons was too busy having the best game of his young NBA career to realize he was closing in on one of the best games in his franchise’s history.
Parsons, who scored a career-high 32 points in the Houston Rockets’ 136-103 win over the Dallas Mavericks on Sunday, was 11-for-11 from the field with 3:57 left in the third quarter after draining his fifth 3-pointer. At that point, Parsons admitted he got carried away the next time down the floor as he jacked up an ill-advised shot from beyond the arc that missed.
That heat check gone wrong was significant because had he made his next shot, Parsons would’ve tied Yao Ming’s single-game franchise record for field goals without a miss (12 for 12), set in 2009 against the Miami Heat. Parsons didn’t know about the record until he was regretfully informed after the game.
“Now I really feel like an idiot,” Parsons said.
Nonetheless, Parsons — who finished 12-of-13 from the field and 6-of-7 from 3-point range — was still able to put himself in the same sentence as another legend, becoming the first player since Larry Bird to get 30-plus points while shooting 92 percent and attempting at least five 3-pointers.
Houston is in a precarious position as the 8th seed in the West with the Lakers nipping at their heels for the final spot in the playoffs. The Lakers are only 2 1/2 games back as they’ve gone 7-3 in their last 10 games. However, Los Angeles may have to hope the 7th-seeded Utah Jazz or 6th-seeded Golden State Warriors slip out of playoff contention in order to get in. While the Jazz have lost three of their last four and the Warriors have lost 10 of their last 13, the Rockets have won four of their last six and have gotten steady propulsion all season from James Harden, Jeremy Lin and Parsons.
The second-year small forward out of Florida has scored at least 20-plus points in each of the team’s past four games after only putting together back-to-back games of 20-plus points just one other time this season (Jan. 30 vs. Denver, Feb. 2 vs. Charlotte).
“I could care less about the Lakers,” Parsons told the Houston Chronicle following last Wednesday’s heartbreaking loss to the Milwaukee Bucks. “If we win our games, maybe the Jazz will lose and help the Lakers get in if everybody wants them in (the playoffs). We control our own destiny right now. I don’t really care what they’re doing or who they play as long as we focus on who we’re playing.”
OTHER NOTABLE GATORS
The Wizards’ rookie shooting guard went down with 2:08 left in the fourth quarter with a sprained ankle in Washington’s 90-87 win over the Philadelphia 76ers. Beal was attended to by a trainer, then carried off the court and through the tunnel by two teammates while keeping weight off both of his legs. However, Beal later said he didn’t consider the injury serious.
“I honestly thought it was more serious than what it was, because at first, I really couldn’t move my foot,” Beal said. “I couldn’t really feel it. I guess that’s just what happens when you’re in shock, and your mind’s just going all over the place.”
Before leaving the floor, Beal scored 14 points on 6-of-12 shooting to go with four rebounds, three assists and two blocks.
Beal had taken his game to a new level since missing five games with a sprained right wrist that he suffered at the end of January. Over an eight-game stretch prior to Sunday’s game, he was averaging 20.8 points and 6.0 rebounds while shooting 44.7 percent (17-of-38) from 3-point range.
Horford had 24 points, five rebounds, three assists and three steals in Sunday’s 99-98 loss to the Lakers. Despite a productive game, Horford got the unenviable task of defending Kobe Bryant in the closing seconds, and Bryant drove past him for the go-ahead layup.
“There’s a reason why he’s the best player in the game,” Horford said of Bryant. “He did what he usually does, and we didn’t do a good enough job on him. It’s disappointing. We thought we worked hard and put ourselves in a position to win. We just had too many mistakes down the stretch.”
Noah had 14 points, 10 rebounds, five assists and one block in the Chicago Bulls’ 97-92 loss to the Indiana Pacers. Noah and his former Gator teammate Horford are tied for 6th in the NBA with 30 double-doubles this season.