Shanoff's Wake-Up Call: Lame NBA P'offs

↵ ↵Today's Calls: Suns vs. Mavs vs. Oblivion, Hawks vs. Celtics, Max Scherzer vs. Phil Hughes, Mike Cameron vs. A-Rod, BCS vs. Big Ten, NHL Playoffs vs. NBA Playoffs, Roger vs. Mindy, Ronaldo vs. Cross-Dressing Prostitutes and More! ↵

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↵The Opening Pitch: The Suns revolution is over, squashed by the superior systemic machine that is the Spurs. ↵

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↵This was supposed to be THE series of the NBA playoffs -- perhaps the moment when style finally bumped aside substance. ↵

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↵Instead, it became the ultimate symbol of the lameness of these NBA playoffs so far: ↵

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↵A quick 5-game, 4-1 brush-off, reminding you that there is the defending champ -- the Duncan Dynasty -- then there is everyone else. ↵

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↵I'm not even going to say "maybe next year" for the Suns; this was it. This was why they traded for Shaq, why they broke up their Big Three. ↵

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↵If the Suns weren't going to use the emotion of last year's playoff ouster and the shock value of the first round to beat the Spurs now, they never will. Nash and Co. simply couldn't flip a switch to turn on their playoff mentality like their opponents could. ↵

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↵As for the Spurs, they look like the team to beat -- not just in the West but in the entire NBA. Again. ↵

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↵Hornets oust Mavs: Two separate issues here. (1) What a huge leap for N.O. (especially Chris "24/15/11" Paul), and (2) what a huge step backward for the Mavs, who have to really consider imploding the whole shebang. ↵

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↵(Speaking of imploding, will the Suns lose coach Mike D'Antoni to the Knicks? If Donnie Walsh was going to go another direction besides Mark Jackson, D'Antoni would be amazing.) ↵

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↵Rockets stay alive for one more game, but that pesky pair of series-opening losses at home in Houston will haunt them; they still have to win one more in Utah to take it to a Game 7. ↵

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↵Now, winning 3 games in a row shouldn't be tough to conceptualize for a team that won 22 in a row mid-season, but somehow a streak of a mere handful now seems way harder than a streak of nearly two dozen then. ↵

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↵Aaaand that's the end of the Sixers: Not yet, officially, but soon enough. ↵

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↵Tonight: Hawks at Celtics, in what has become the only "must-see" series of the playoffs -- which in and of itself is an incredible thing to be able to say. ↵

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↵The Hawks have already won, even if they lose the series: By taking this to 5 games in the way they have, they have completely reversed the image of the franchise. ↵

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↵(Meanwhile, I presume that the Cavs are going to close out the Wizards in Cleveland tonight in Game 5, but things are so entertaining, I really would like to see it go back to DC one more time.) ↵

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↵Bobcats hire Larry Brown: I made it very clear yesterday how I feel about this. ↵

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↵MLB Instant History: Scherzer Mania! If it is possible, the D'backs pitching just got even stronger. Making his MLB debut, Max Scherzer was dominant, with 7 Ks in 4 IP of long relief that is expected to turn into a starter's role. Don't bother looking for him on your fantasy waiver wire; he's already claimed. ↵

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↵Who had O's-Rays at the end of April battling for first place in the AL East? Edge: O's?!?! ... ↵

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↵Speaking of "who had," who had the Angels' Joe Saunders at 5-0 after an 8 IP, 4 H, 5 K, 0 ER performance in a win against rival Oakland? ... ↵

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↵Welcome back, Mike Cameron: What 25-game suspension for PEDs? Cameron was 3-5, with 2 R and 2 RBI (plus a BB), leading the Brewers to a win over division-rival Chicago. ↵

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↵350 on hold (again) for Greg Maddux ... Fantasy Stud: Scott Hairston (3-4, 2 HR, 3 RBI, 3 R). ↵

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↵Umm, maybe the Yankees should have traded Phil Hughes (now 0-4) to the Twins for Johan Santana after all. (Oh, and they're not chanting "Huuuuughes!" Those are "Booos!") ↵

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↵A-Rod to the DL? Meh. ↵

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↵Huge game for Jon Lester: 8 IP (his longest outing in almost 2 years), 1 H, 0 ER, 6 K (but couldn't get a decision out of it; the Sox got the W, though) ... ↵

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↵BCS Watch: "Plus-One" meets rejection. Today, SEC commish Mike Slive will present the inane "Plus-One" plan to his BCS cabal cohorts. ↵

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↵Anyway, the "Plus-One" is a complete non-starter, given the Big Ten and Pac-10's resistance to anything beyond the current system (and I'm not sure why they ever even said yes to the current format). ↵

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↵OK, so why is the "Plus-One" model inane? If you thought picking 2 teams to play for a title was brutal, try narrowing a field of 8-10 worthy contenders down to 4. Impossible. ↵

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↵Pick 4 from this group at the end of last year's regular season: Ohio State, LSU, Va. Tech, Oklahoma, Georgia, Missouri, USC, Kansas, West Virginia, Hawaii. Good luck with that. (Consider that Ohio State didn't even finish in the final Top 4 after last year's bowls, but would have been a lock for inclusion in any 4-team playoff. Or that WVU would have likely been left out, even though they crushed Oklahoma -- a team probably included in any 4-team field.) ↵

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↵NHL Playoffs: Even bigger dud than the NBA. As if trying to match the NBA's playoff lameness, the highly anticipated Wings-Avs series is a complete dud, with Detroit taking a 3-0 series lead. And Pittsburgh is up 3-0 on the Rangers. And the Stars are up 3-0 on the Sharks. Suddenly, the BCS system doesn't look so bad. ↵

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↵Meanwhile, here's a hockey story we can all get around -- Nathan Smith, captain of the Penguins' AHL team, was arrested for streaking. Honestly, it could be worse: He could have been with a 15-year-old girl who is an aspiring country music star. Speaking of which ... ↵

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↵Clemens/McCready Affair, Cont'd: You know, I was wondering what might knock "Cheater" from the first line of Roger Clemens' legacy. I didn't think anything could do it, but "Freaky-deaky with a 15-year-old" just might. (The sex didn't have to happen until she was in her 20s; it's still totally skeevy.) ↵

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↵NFL: Well, at least the Bills are being paid well to sell out their fans. The team will get $78 million to move their games to Toronto. If you wanted to know the market value for ripping the soul out of a fan base by taking away one of 8 home games they have all year, this is it. (Not to dis Toronto fans, who will have the time of their lives.) ↵

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↵Bloggers vs. Haters on "Costas Now": The irony is that Will Leitch of Deadspin came across like the thoughtful one, and Buzz Bissinger (representing the "old school") came across like the raving lunatic -- precisely what he was attempting to decry about blogs. Bissinger didn't provoke outrage; he provoked pity. ↵

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↵The Last Word: If you thought Roger Clemens had it rough, consider Ronaldo. The Brazilian soccer star had to go into hiding after a "run-in" with cross-dressing prostitutes. But, really: Who hasn't been there? (Let's ask Clemens, because that's GOT to be the next thing coming.) ↵

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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? Email 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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