The Basketball Gods Favor the Mavs. Here's Proof.

The Dallas Mavs - now 38-28 with six games to play - can win their first playoff series in a decade. The Basketball Gods say it is so. DFW Sports Notebook
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Whether you’re at the end of your coffee, your day, your week or even your rope, welcome to Whitt’s End 5.7.21…

The basketball gods are trying their best to hand the 5th seed to the Dallas Mavericks. Easiest closing schedule, by far. Lakers resting LeBron James. Best-case scenario: Finish 5th and face the Nuggets, who will be without Jamal Murray and whom you’ve already beaten twice in Denver this season. Worse-case: Lose three times in two weeks to the Kings, drop a game to the Cavaliers and perhaps the season finale to the Timberwolves to pratfall face-first into the Play-In quagmire.

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If the Dallas Mavs - now 38-28 with six games to play - don’t win their first playoff series in a decade this season, they’ll only have themselves to blame.

*It’s your fault. Yeah, you, the Dallas Cowboys fan who pumped his fist when they beat the Bengals in Week 14, the 49ers in Week 15 and the Eagles in Week 16.

Why? Because before that meaningless, detrimental three-game winning streak the Cowboys were 3-9 and held the third pick in the NFL Draft.

I don’t exactly condone trying to lose. But trying not to win? Sure.

With their late, self-inflicted surge, the Cowboys didn’t make the playoffs. They did, however, dilute their draft position, falling to the 10th pick. Had they held on to No. 3 they could’ve controlled and dangled the rights to quarterback Trey Lance, which could’ve netted them a gaggle of high draft picks – a first, second and a third?

Moral to the story: When it’s unsalvageable, don’t mortgage the future trying to salvage it. If the Cowboys would’ve cut their losses in 2020, their 2021 would be brighter.

Oh, and yes, it’s partly your fault.

Take heart Mavs fans, there is precedent for great teams losing to bad teams in the regular season and going on to win a championship. The 1971 Cowboys lost to the 4-8-2 Saints en route to winning Super Bowl VI. The ’92 Cowboys were upset by the 6-10 Rams before rebounding to win Super Bowl XXVII. The 2011 Texas Rangers were swept in a three-game series by the 63-99 Twins on their way to the World Series. And even the champion 2011 Mavs lost a game to a horrible Raptors outfit that wound up 22-60.

So there, feel better about going 0-3 against the Kings?

Nah, me neither. But I tried.

I didn’t realize how much Rougned Odor’s act polluted my vision of the Rangers, but without him I’m thoroughly enjoying watching baseball this Spring. These Rangers hustle. They catch, throw and run. They don’t emote ego. Joey Gallo hits mammoth homers with his bat and punctuates wins with his glove. Willie Calhoun-for-Yu-Darvish suddenly doesn’t look so preposterous. Kyle Gibson has mind-blowing movement on his pitches. Adolis Garcia is worth the price of admission. And out of nowhere they have the A.L. saves leader in Ian Kennedy, who simply throws hard strikes.

READ MORE: Texas Rangers Earn Another Comeback Win; Claim Yet Another Series Success

By August they’ll likely be 20+ games behind the Astros in the division, but the Rangers are already taking positives steps in the right direction for 2022 and beyond. After beating the Twins Thursday afternoon, they have three consecutive four-game series wins for the first time since 2014.

Sad news out of south Dallas: The Tenison Park golf course that raised the likes of Lee Trevino has literally eroded into a dog park. Decades of land erosion has made the track unplayable, and it’s being transformed into a nine-hole course. Dallas’ first municipally owned course, the fabled track of land was originally donated by E.O. Tenison in 1924 and the course hosted the 1968 USGA Public Links Championship. You can still play the newer Highlands course at Tenison, but … just not the same sense of history.

While The Ticket held a comfortable lead on The Fan in DFW’s Winter radio ratings (spanning Jan.-March), something interested is occurring. With two powerful brands offering two diverse approaches to local sports, I figured listeners would consider themselves lucky and do a lot of switching during commercials. A little x’s and o’s at The Fan, then some guy talk over at The Ticket. Back and forth.

But, um, nope. Instead, there is fierce loyalty in the two camps.

In March, for example, only 15 percent of Ticket listeners sampled The Fan while just eight percent of Fan listeners wandered over to The Ticket. It’s like fast-food lovers going to McDonald’s, but never – or rarely – Whataburger. Variety is the spice of life, except when it comes to DFW sports talk radio listeners. The Fan continues to have about twice as many total listeners, while The Ticket’s core audience listens longer. March’s scoreboard:

Mornings: Ticket 5.1, Fan 4.1

Middays: Ticket 5.2, Fan 4.4

Afternoons: Ticket 4.8, Fan 3.3

Overall: Ticket 5.2, Fan 3.9

Mavs in three games vs. the 29-37 Kings: -33. Mavs in three games vs. 44-22 Nuggets: +16. I can’t. Sorry, I just can’t begin to explain.

Recently moved to Plano and was shocked Tuesday night to look out my balcony and see … fireworks. Did Collin County mistake May 4 for the Fourth of July? Nope. The Frisco Rough Riders were merely “announcing” their return to playing minor league baseball.

Don’t stop, believin’. Jerry Jones just can’t help himself from thinking he can help everybody. The team that signed Greg Hardy, welcomed Aldon Smith and continues to coddle Randy Gregory is at it again, using its multiple draft picks on players with alleged character issues in college. Micah Parsons (hazing, sexual assault), Kelvin Joseph (suspended for violating team rules) and Josh Ball (dating violence) all sport off-field blemishes.

While Jason Garrett cherished RKG (Right Kind of Guys), Jones has always coveted RKP (Right Kind of Players).

*Hot.

*Not.

What the Mavs must absolutely have to make a strong run in the playoffs: More made free throws. Less technical fouls. Both, of course, by Luka Doncic. His next T will be his 16th of the season and will result in a one-game suspension. 

He says he’s trying to curtail his complaining to referees, but it doesn’t show. And, yes, I absolutely do believe his constant whining negatively affects his league-wide image.

READ MORE: Temper, Temper: Luka Doncic Vows To Cool Down

More importantly, he’s averaging two free-throw misses per game. His percentage has dropped from 75 to 72 this season, which is simply unacceptable. No reason a player with his skill shouldn’t be flirting with 90 percent.

Stumbled upon Hot Tub Time Machine the other day. In an unexpected twist, it made me miss Reunion Arena. If you’ve seen it, you know.

Because of the Seahawks/Dan Quinn connection, folks are quick to liken Parsons to Seattle linebacker Bobby Wagner. To me, the favorable current comp is Tampa Bay’s Devin White. Except Parsons is bigger, and faster. And scarier.

Like you, I scowl at these loud cars with their mufflers-turned-amplifiers. It’s stupid, “pay attention to me!” noise, powered by 1,000 chainsaws and a subwoofer. I mean, who could actually like driving something that makes that much racket? Me, that’s who. As a 16-year-old equipped with a fresh “hardship” driver’s license, I was ticketed in Duncanville’s Southside Park for “exhibition of acceleration.” Yep, I was that guy.

Including Leighton Vander Esch, nine of the 32 NFL first-round draft picks from 2018 did not have their fifth-year options picked up.

Debuting in 1989, this Fort Worth-based band’s music still stands up in 2021. Kudos, Toadies.

Consider the barrage of mock drafts by insiders, geeks and experts shoved out as gospel over the last three months. Now, show me one – just one – that predicted the Cowboys would trade back to No. 12 and select Parsons. Didn’t think so.

If you’re a girl that just loves, Loves, LOVES your dog but also wants to pet every other dog, you have the capacity to understand your scoundrel ex-boyfriend that sometimes “strayed.”

The University of North Texas had a player drafted for the first time since 2004. Receiver Jaelon Darden went 129th overall to the Buccaneers, the Mean Green’s highest player taken since Kim Phillips went 79th to the Saints in 1989.

All this time I thought I had a career in media, but turns out I also have a part-time job as a bagger. Or, maybe you haven’t been a self-checkout only grocery store yet?

Decent double-header at Globe Life Field last weekend. On Saturday night, Dak Prescott stayed for the final out of the Rangers’ win over the Red Sox. The next day, Patrick Mahomes (in a Royals jersey) watched from a suite. For the record, Texas is 2-0 this season playing in front of NFL quarterbacks.

Shockingly, I was wrong. And I’m betting you were too. Instead of a pandemic baby boom, the U.S. birth rate fell more than six percent in the last quarter of 2020, which should have experienced an influx of babies conceived during shelter-in-place lockdowns.

If not “that," wonder what folks were doing?

Tiger King and Last Dance weren’t that riveting, were they?

Orioles’ pitcher lost a perfect game this week when a batter reached base despite striking out. It’s baseball’s dumbest rule: Live ball on a dropped third strike. Football? Illegal formation for not having a tackle “covered”. Basketball? Defensive three seconds. Hockey/Soccer? Offsides.

Because of the NFL’s tweaked rules allowing weird numbers at strange positions, Parsons will wear No. 11. For now, put him behind Danny White, Cole Beasley and even Roy Williams on the list of best No. 11s. For now.

Even 65 years of age, 27 years together and $124 billion in fortune can’t keep Bill and Melinda Gates together. Once upon a time, Melinda French was just a student at Dallas’ Ursuline Academy. In a sorta related story, Dallas ranks 10th globally in really rich people. An estimated 32,715 in the city have a net worth between $5-20 million. In case you were wondering – and I’m quite sure you weren’t – “Richie Rich” has always been more my nickname than description.

Was driving up the Tollway this week and curious that I didn’t see dirt being moved north of Frisco. The PGA is moving its headquarters here and opening two courses by Spring 2023. Figured it would take longer to build than two years.

On this Mother’s Day, allow me to give a long, loving hug to my own mother and all those struggling to take care of their aging parents. My mom lost her husband of 30 years suddenly last August. She suffers from dementia and, and has an apartment in an assisted living facility in Cleburne. It’s not easy. On her. Or on us. In fact, it’s downright difficult.

She calls. Forgets she calls. Then suffers an anxiety attack when she can’t remember if she forgot to call. Rinse and repeat.

For the first time since she began living there, my brother and I get to take her out to lunch on Sunday. Here’s to pausing, breathing and taking the time to enjoy the little things.

Rangers Risk: We all think the Texas Rangers are going to be putrid this season. Our lil’ roundtable revealed predicted win totals of anywhere between 61 and 78, but no one thinks .500 is plausible. Let’s put our money where our mouth is. I’m going to bet a virtual $100 against the Rangers every game this season and, after six months and 162 games, see where I wind up. I’ll keep a running tab right there each Friday and come September I’ll (wink) disperse my profits to my most loyal readers. RECORD: 16-17. TOTAL: -$763.

This Weekend? Saturday let’s play tennis in the morning and hang out with Big Brothers Big Sisters lil’ bro Ja Ja in the afternoon. Sunday let’s venture to Johnson County to spend the day with dear ol’ Mom. As always, don’t be a stranger.