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Mavericks to have former Cowboy quarterback Tony Romo in uniform, on bench Tuesday

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Tony Romo, the loved and hated former Cowboys quarterback headed to the broadcast booth next season, is going to be on the Mavericks’ bench Tuesday night as an honorary team member. In uniform and the whole thing, save for actually playing in a game.

Marc Stein of ESPN broke the story.

Sources told ESPN.com that the Mavericks intend to have Romo on the bench and in uniform for their final regular-season home date against the Denver Nuggets as a means of paying tribute to the longtime former Cowboy.

With starting point guard Seth Curry ailing in recent days and officially out for the rest of the season because of a shoulder ailment, Mavericks owner Mark Cuban has said on multiple occasions over the past week that the club would be looking to add “a pass-first point guard” before playing out the season’s final five days….

The Mavericks plan to treat him like an actual player on the roster for the day, sources said, even though Romo won’t actually play in the game. He last played competitive basketball in high school in Wisconsin.

It would be easy to joke about how Romo will be injured in warmups before getting the chance to be honored by the Mavericks, but we’re above that… okay, apparently not. Although we are curious to know if reserve forward Nicolas Brussino has to give up the No. 9 for the night to Romo.

Romo was a regular at Mavericks games and has a strong relationship with owner Mark Cuban, which certainly helps facilitate these kinds of things.

It’s a nice gesture for a quarterback who had a roller coaster of a career in Dallas, but who lost his starting job last season.

Mavericks’ fan drains half-court shot, wins new 65″ television

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Nothing but net.

Courtney was the designated shooter at the Dallas game Friday night against San Antonio, and now she has a much nicer television than you do after draining a halfcourt shot. That was Curry-like. Or, Dirk-like in Dallas, I guess.

Russell Westbrook was hunting assists, Suns doing everything to deny him Friday night

Associated Press
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Russell Westbrook wanted the record — to secure a triple-double for the season and then to get his 42nd triple-double of this season, breaking Oscar Robertson’s record.

Westbrook needed just six assists to guarantee he would average a triple-double for the season, and from the start of the game he was clearly hunting them. He got his buckets, but he passed up open looks to try to feed teammates. In the third quarter, Westbrook got his sixth assist.

But as the game wound down, with the Thunder down by around 20 most of the time, Billy Donovan kept Westbrook in to get his 42nd triple-double — Westbrook needed a few more assists, and he was hunting them. He was ignoring good shots to try to get them. Westbrook all but admitted it, but in a NSFW way reminded everyone he was not shooting the ball well so he should pass.

The Phoenix Suns were determined not to let Westbrook get that record on their watch. It was obvious.

Jack Maloney at CBSSports.com had a great breakdown, but if you watch the Suns at the end of the game they dared Westbrook to shoot and tried to take away his passing options. This screen shot from the CBS post best shows how the Suns defended the final plays — Westbrook is left wide open.

Westbrook passed up the shot to hit a cutting Steven Adams in the paint, and he was fouled before he could shoot, denying any chance at an assist. And so it went every time down, even with the Suns fouling Westbrook and sending him to the line. At 2:34, he basically subbed himself out and accepted the numbers will have to come another day.

Westbrook has three more chances to get his 42nd triple-double. He has hunted some stats all season (usually rebounds), but the fact remains he was close enough to get those triple-doubles, and the Thunder win three-quarters of their games when he gets one, but only a third of their games when he doesn’t. He has to put up huge numbers for the Thunder to have a chance.

Bad night for Cavs: Lue calls loss to Hawks “stupid,” Irving leaves with sore knee

Associated Press
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The Cleveland Cavaliers had the chance Friday night to go two games up on the Boston Celtics with three to play, and all they had to do was beat an Atlanta team resting Dwight Howard and Dennis Schroder, plus Kent Bazemore was out with an injury.

Instead, Cleveland had one of their sloppiest losses of the season. They seemed disinterested in the game and fell 114-100.

Here’s what a frustrated coach Tyronn Lue said after the game, via Dave McMenamin of ESPN.

One Cavs source told ESPN it was the “most embarrassing loss of the season by a lot.” Another told ESPN, “I saw it coming,” when he got wind of the Hawks sitting their marquee guys. Yet another told ESPN of the Cavs’ up-and-down nature, “I don’t get it. I don’t f—ing get it.”…

“Just stupid, man,” said Lue, who compared the loss to others in the past when the Cavs fell flat against undermanned opponents (Memphis last season; New Orleans this season). “It’s tough because as a coach you’re searching and trying to get the right guys out there to bring some energy. Guys have been playing 38 and 39 minutes, and Bron, you know, he seems to have the energy every single night. A lot of times guys are not picking that up. Tonight is where we needed guys to pick up the energy and pick up the slack. We just didn’t do it.”

The playoffs should focus the Cavaliers and solve the effort questions.

The bigger concern might be the knee of Kyrie Irving — he sat out the second half of the game due to pain in his knee.

“After halftime my left knee just started kind of flaring up,” said Irving, who finished with 18 points and seven assists. “[Thursday] just was a terrible day for me and my knee. … It was just one of those days. Guys that have had knee surgery before understand that. It was one of those days. I just did my best all of yesterday just trying to recover and do everything possible. So I had a great chance of playing at a high level, and then after halftime it just f—ing flared up. Excuse my language, sorry.”

The Cavaliers need to get him some nights off to get that knee right, they don’t want it to be something chronic that bothers him through the postseason and slows him when it matters. Of course, it would be a lot easier to do that with more of a cushion over the Celtics.

I still don’t think the Cavaliers are in real trouble in the Eastern Conference, so long as they get their focus back and stay healthy. No need to reach for the panic button. But games like this might make Cavs fans want to locate where the button is, just in case.

Lakers’ Julius Randle goes behind the back, then gets and-1 on scoop layup (VIDEO)

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The big man has handles.

Julius Randle had a fantastic start to the season, slumped in the middle, but has come back on of late and showed off the skills that drew the Lakers to him on this drive Friday night against the Kings. He went behind the back, got to the rim, drew the contact and finished the scoop layup for the bucket. How many bigs can do that?

The Lakers won their third game in a row, beating the Kings 98-94 behind 25 from Randle. The win almost guarantees the Lakers will finish with the third-worst record in the NBA — which gives them a slightly worse than 50/50 shot of keeping their pick through the lottery (if it’s in the top three the Lakers keep it, if it is fourth or higher it goes to the Sixers, and if that happens the Lakers 2019 first rounder goes to Orlando).