Shanoff's Wake-Up Call: 'Cats Go 'Wrong Way'

↵Today's Calls: Larry Brown vs. Michael Jordan, Hawks vs. Celtics, Roger Clemens vs. Mindy McCready, Dan Haren vs. Barry Zito, Pat Riley vs. Erik Spoelstra, Hedo Turkoglu vs. Jason Kidd, Pat Summitt vs. Tila Tequila and More! ↵

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↵The Opening Pitch: The Bobcats players should ask their colleagues in New York about playing for Larry Brown. Because it stinks. ↵

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↵At one point in his long career, Brown was a great coach. Just after he led the Pistons to an NBA title in 2004, though, things went bad. That's when he "led" USA Basketball to humiliation in the Athens Olympics. In hindsight, it should have been foreshadowing; it was mostly his fault. ↵

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↵Brown then skeevily sidled out of Detroit -- probably just before the team turned on him -- to coach the Knicks, claiming it was his dream job. In New York, he managed to pull of the feat of being an even worse coach than Isiah Thomas. ↵

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↵Brown's "Right Way" is a canard. His is the "Wrong Way," all the way: Alienating player relations, inscrutable strategic moves, pathetic attempts at media manipulation. All positioned as this "old-school" philosophy that we are supposed to accept as some sort of magic formula, when all signs point to it as merely being out-of-date -- and out-of-touch. ↵

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↵Now, he will take his act to Charlotte. These Bobcats are not contenders, and Brown proved in New York he is absolutely the wrong coach for a young, up-and-coming team. ↵

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↵Combine that with team part-owner Michael Jordan's shoddy history as a talent evaluator -- not to mention his history, as an exec, of having weak head coaches ... ↵

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↵... This is a relationship doomed to fail. The only question is: How fast before Brown is fired for putting on the same kind of messy, embarrassing show in Charlotte that he did in NYC? How many years does it set back the franchise? ↵

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↵There will be much hype for the move; it is a double-down on front-office star power (even if neither MJ nor LB deserves it). ↵

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↵By indulging Larry Brown's ego -- and perhaps his own -- Jordan and Brown are taking the Bobcats the "Wrong Way." ↵

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↵Hawks even up with Celtics: Does anyone really give the Hawks a shot at ousting the C's? No. But, wow, are they making it fun. ↵The Hawks simply won't roll over. They are putting up more of a fight -- showing more spirit -- than any other team in the NBA playoffs. Compare the Hawks to, say, the flaccid Nuggets. ↵

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↵Win or lose, the Hawks' effort is worth our admiration. It might feel strange to connect "Hawks" with "Heart," but they have it. ↵

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↵Roger Clemens Scandal with 15-Year-Old, Cont'd: As predicted here yesterday, this DID become a "thing." ↵

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↵Silly, Rocket: His legal team took the defensive on the affair, not realizing that what would offend people isn't the infidelity ... ↵

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↵... But the whole part about him "hanging out" with a 15-year-old, which all fans can agree is just about the sketchiest thing ever. ↵

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↵MLB Instant History: ↵

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↵*The overachieving A's are leading the AL West after blasting the Angels 14-2, in the teams' first head-to-head game of the year. Frank Thomas might be the pick-up of the year: He went 3-3 with a motivating first-inning triple, plus two RBIs and two walks. ↵

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↵*Fantasy Stud: Dan Haren. 7.2 IP, 5 H, 5 K, 3 ER. There isn't a better 1-2-3 punch in baseball this season than Brandon Webb, Haren and Micah Owings. ↵

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↵*Fantasy Dud: Barry Zito is moving to the bullpen, after being among the worst first-month SPs in a generation of baseball. ↵

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↵*Milestone Watch: Mike Mussina gets Win No. 253, tying him with Carl Hubbell on the all-time list. (Question: Moose a HOF'er or not?) ↵

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↵*You know things are bad in Colorado when the Rockies are not only behind the woeful Giants in the NL West standings, but losing to them head-to-head. ↵

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↵More NBA Playoffs: Lakers sweep Nuggets. And yet, the reports are that Denver head coach George Karl will get to keep his job? How? Why? ↵

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↵Dwight Howard is unstoppable: Yet another 20/20 game (21/21, actually), leading the Magic to a 4-1 series win over the Raptors. ↵

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↵Pat Riley re-re-re-retires: Unless you count the way he had been phoning it in all season long -- since they that title in 2006, really. ↵

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↵(Bring on the lottery and the draft! Goodness knows that Riley has spent enough of his time and energy presumably getting ready for it.) ↵

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↵Name to Know: Erik Spoelstra, who at 37 becomes the youngest head coach in the NBA. No previous head-coaching experience? No problem! ↵

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↵Jason Kidd won't be suspended by the NBA for his ejection in Game 4 ... probably because the NBA realizes his playing won't matter anyway. ↵

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↵NBA Awards: Byron Scott for Coach of the Year. He has come a long way from his ouster in New Jersey and his current team's displacement from Hurricane Katrina. Helps to have the best PG of his generation, I guess. ↵

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↵More: Hedo Turkoglu wins Most Improved. 19.5/5.7/5 IS pretty impressive, especially as the third wheel on the Dwight Howard-Rashard Lewis ride. ↵

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↵NBA Hiring: What makes Donnie Walsh think that Kenny Smith has ANY qualifications to be an NBA GM? Walsh is smart to bring him in for an interview, however, if only for the media-relations value. ↵

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↵NFL Draft Casualty: Dominic Rhodes. The Raiders don't really need him, now that they have superstar-in-waiting Darren McFadden. ↵

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↵Notable Undrafted FA Signings: Danny Woodhead, the NCAA's all-time leading rusher out of Chadron State, was signed by the Jets. Know what? I'll bet he makes it. ↵

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↵I was down on the Falcons drafting Matt Ryan, but that doesn't mean I didn't like some of the other draft moves made by teams picking QBs: I liked Brian Brohm to Green Bay, Chad Henne to Miami, John David Booty to Minnesota, Dennis Dixon to Pittsburgh and the intriguing Kevin O'Connell to New England. ↵

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↵Greatest Sports-Themed Reality TV Show Idea Ever: "A Jump-Shot At Love with Pat Summitt." The coach finalized her divorce yesterday. ↵

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↵The Last Word: The Hawks' success against the Celtics begs one more point: Which "Big Three" would you rather have -- KG/Pierce/Allen or Johnson/Smith/Horford? ↵

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↵The Celtics have one more year of title-run left in them, maybe two; the Hawks, if they can keep this core together, will be an East contender for years after that. ↵

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↵For all of the praise for Boston's radical offseason transformation, it is a short-term high; amazingly, the Hawks are better positioned than the Celtics for long-term success. ↵

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↵Dan Shanoff writes The Wake-Up Call every weekday morning for SportingNews.com and blogs daily at DanShanoff.com. Got any comments, questions or feedback? E-mail Dan at shanofftsn-[at]-gmail-[dot]-com. ↵

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This post originally appeared on the Sporting Blog. For more, see The Sporting Blog Archives.

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