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Luka Doncic, Mark Cuban & Mavs Truth on Trade Rumor

Mavs' Luka hitting the brakes, Cowboys' kicking themselves, Rangers going back to high school and who you picking for one "shot" with your life on the line, all in this week's DFW sports notebook.


Whether you’re at the end of your coffee, your day, your week or even your rope, welcome to Whitt’s End …

*The mural to the story: Yes, in fact, the Dallas Mavericks desperately need another playmaker. 

Whether Luka says it publicly or not. Doncic is having an MVP season of almost unprecedented production and the Mavs are barely floating above .500. Because … 

Spencer Dinwiddie runs hot and cold. 

Dorian Finney-Smith can’t be trusted on open 3-pointers. 

Reggie Bullock is uncomfortable putting the ball on the floor and creating shots for himself, or others. 

The West is wide open – the Warriors and Suns are under .500 for crying out loud – and the Mavs must make a trade before the Feb. 9 deadline. 

But for … this guy? No, wait, can I take it back? We’re good.

Seriously, though, regardless of whether ESPN “got the story dead-wrong,” as Mavs boss Mark Cuban claims … with backup from Luka …

They know.

We all know.

Luka needs help so obviously that … he shouldn’t really need to say anything.

*First player on the Dallas Cowboys’ practice field Thursday afternoon at The Star in Frisco? The man trying to kick the ball between the uprights, and simultaneously boot the yips out from between his ears.

Brett Maher.

As I watched him fine-tune his kicking on comically skinny goal posts about half as wide as normal – while newly signed insurance policy Tristan Vizcaino practiced on the other end of the field – I wondered if Maher was going to be able to handle the pressure of not only America’s Team, but the world’s attention.

Some that last Monday night watched Maher become the first kicker in NFL history to miss four extra points were furious (right, Dak Prescott?). Others were merely fascinated.

It’s almost unfathomable that in a postseason history spanning 65 games over 64 years, the Cowboys have never attempted a deciding field goal on the final snap of a playoff game.

If it happens Sunday in San Francisco it will not only be unprecedented, but unbearable. We’ll all do that weird thing where we hide our face in our hands yet peek through our fingers.

*One “shot.” Your life on the line. Make it … or else. Who you picking?

Cowboys’ kicker to make an extra point = Eddie Murray. He made Dallas’ most recent crucial kick, a 41-yard field goal in overtime at The Meadowlands in 1994 that beat the Giants and paved the way for Super Bowl XXVIII. Dan Bailey remains the best kicker in franchise history; “Automatic” Eddie the most clutch.

Dallas Maverick to make a free throw = Steve Nash. I know! But Luka Doncic misses one of every four free throws, and I remember Dirk Nowitzki front-rimming a costly one in the 2006 NBA Finals. Besides, the only player in NBA history with a better career percentage than Nash’s 90.4 is named Steph Curry (90.8).

Texas Ranger to lay down a sacrifice bunt = Bert Campaneris. One of the greatest bunters in baseball history, “Campy” laid down 65 in only 900 at-bats in Arlington. Elvis Andrus produced 100, but in 7,000 ABs.

Dallas Star to make a penalty shot = Joe Pavelski. Sorry, Mike Modano and Brett Hull. But the NHL’s overtime penalty shootout wasn’t introduced until 2005, and Pavelski has the fifth-most all-time one-on-one goals.

*Root for the Rangers at your own peril. But root for pitcher Taylor Hearn because he’s the kind of guy who will offer to drop into a local high school practice before he heads off to spring training in Arizona in a couple weeks.

*No matter what you do, don’t pop a key on your laptop and look underneath. You’ve been warned.

*You’ve probably seen the six-wheel “tank” Luka pulled up in for a game this week. You likely didn’t know, however, that his new ride is appropriately called a “Hellfire Apocalypse” and apparently cost him a cool $250,000. For that price it better come fully loaded, and sure enough: thermal and night vision cameras, a locomotive five-blast horn, nitrous kit, 850-horsepower engine and a built-in safe. Just when we thought Luka was going all classic country on us with the vintage car, Stetson and boots at Christmas, he reminds us he’s still a 23-year-old kid at heart.

*Speaking of kicking in San Francisco, last time the Cowboys played in Levi’s Stadium they got two made extra points by … Jeff Heath. Bailey was injured early in the 40-10 blowout victory, forcing a decision for then-coach Jason Garrett. After going for two and failing, on the next three touchdowns he let the veteran safety have a crack at kicking. Result: Heath made two of three, including one that clanged through off the upright.



*To those whining that the Cowboys’ “quick turnaround” from Monday night to Sunday late afternoon is somehow “unfair,” a couple points: 1. Didn’t the long layoff/extra rest before Monday night help them heal and beat the Bucs?; 2. They were 4-0 this season on games after a “short rest.” 3. Allow Jerry Jones to explain it: “No amount of scratching on it or doodling it on paper is going to change it … just being on the road against a hot team that’s won 11 in a row is the disadvantage.”

*In a sport that rewards acceleration, it’s Luka’s deceleration that sets him apart. He can go 40-to-Zero in an instant, and in total control. Other than some Formula 1 driver I don’t care to learn the name of, he’s probably the best down-shifter in all of sports.

*If there are any thoughts and prayers leftover from the Damar Hamlin outpouring, direct them to Rangers’ forever, Hall-of-Fame radio voice Eric Nadel. He’s getting ready for spring training, but also battling exhaustion, insomnia and other health-related issues.

*I got lost driving somewhere this week, despite (sorta) help from GPS. Seriously, how did me and my friends ever meet at the same place at the same time back in the day? It was all written directions, Mapscos and, ultimately, pay phones. And don’t get me started with my ancestors somehow navigating oceans by watching the stars.

*Including Heath, 35 players have attempted a kick for the Cowboys. My Top 10. (Spoiler alert: Maher!).

*49ers-Cowboys playoff game from a year ago. If you dare.

*“Wild Card” is cool. “Super Bowl” is iconic. “Divisional Round” is … lame and downright blandy blanderson. And not – considering there are non-division winners players – at all correct.

*Different eras. And, of course, a much different 49ers’ defense. But a couple of Cowboys will enter Sunday with positive vibes inside Levi’s Stadium. The Cowboys are 2-0 there with Dak-Zeke. Prescott is a combined 39 of 57 for 479 yards, five touchdowns and no interceptions. If you think that’s salty, Elliott’s two games were 138 and 147 rushing yards with a combined four touchdowns.

*Black bats. Grins. Victory chains. And … blood? When the Cowboys are deep into the playoffs everything tastes(?) better.

*Cowboys-49ers has always been a marquee game. Especially in the playoffs. Even going back to the 70s. The Top 10 all-time games, according to me.

*Reminder to what extreme the Cowboys are king in DFW … the Mavs are altering their tip-off time Sunday against the Clippers as to not compete for fans. From 6:30, to 1:30. Imagine the Cowboys doing that for another team? Nope.

*Don’t expect a lot of flags Sunday. Referee Bill Vinovich’s crew called 70 fewer penalties for 835 less yards than the top group.

*To no one’s surprise, Cowboys-Bucs drew a TV audience of 35.6 million to make it the most-watched NFL game since last year’s Super Bowl.

*In light of Prescott’s profane-laced, helmet-slamming reaction to the quartet of misses Tampa, I guess it’s okay if Maher goes on a sideline tirade if/when the quarterback throws an interception in San Francisco?

*This Weekend? Friday let’s swim a bit. Saturday let’s mingle old friends with new. Sunday let’s visit Dad in the hospital before watching Cowboys-49ers. As always, don’t be a stranger.

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