HOUSTON (CBS HOUSTON) – Chandler Parsons admittedly didn’t know what to expect as he returned to Houston on Saturday for the first time since leaving the Rockets for a three-year $46 million contract with the Dallas Mavericks in the offseason.
Toyota Center was the site of the first of four regular season match-ups between the Mavericks and Rockets. While both teams are fighting for positioning atop the NBA’s Western Conference, Saturday’s match-up began with the focus on Parsons. The Rockets beat the Mavericks 95-92.
Parsons received a loud chorus of boos from the Toyota Center crowd after public address announcer JP Stevenson announced the former Rocket’s name during pre-game introductions.
Parsons said he was able to tune out the jeering after the first few minutes of play. He felt the need to clarify something to those that chose to respond to his return with the unfavorable welcome.
“Fans that booed, I think sometimes they forget I was a restricted free agent and the organization could have matched my contract,” Parsons said. “I understand that. They’re passionate and they’re going to support their team and I am going to support myself.”
Parsons heard it from the crowd throughout the game as everytime he touched the ball the boos, while not as loud as at the start of the game, were certainly audible enough to be noticed. The boos continued into the second half until the Rockets during a 3rd quarter timeout the Rockets aired a tribute video for Parsons thanking him for his three seasons in Houston.
Parsons was shown on the Mavericks bench and what were boos from the crowd, turned into a standing ovation. Parsons, who was not aware that the Rockets had plans on showing the tribute, was appreciative.
“It was nice of them to play that video. That was real classy.”
Parsons continued that appreciation in a postgame tweet.
Parsons struggled in the game, scoring just eight points, and missed all five of his three-point attempts as he saw his team come short of a comeback victory, watching their late 4th quarter lead slip away.
“It’s a little frustrating considering we wanted to come in here and get a win,” Parsons added. “We are going to be fighting with them all year long and it’s going to be a tight playoff race.” “This would have been a nice one to get.”
Parsons tried to extend the olive branch to his former team. Prior to tip-off Rockets head coach Kevin Mchale saw Parsons come over and embrace him. McHale joked about the incident after the game.
“I tied stiff arming him. I was giving him the Heisman but he broke through and got a hug,” McHale joked. “I said get the hell away from me is what I told him.” “I like Chandler..(He’s) a good guy”
The Rockets have been one of the top defensive teams in the league since Parsons departure and the addition of Trevor Ariza, Parsons replacement. However, when asked if this version of the Rockets had a higher defensive intensity than the team he was on Parsons answered, “No”.
Alex Del Barrio can be heard on Saturday afternoons on Sportsradio 610. Follow Alex Del Barrio on Twitter: @ADBSportsguy
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