Shanoff's Wake-Up Call: Road Dooms Celtics

Today's Calls: Celtics vs. the Road, Kobe vs. His Back, NCAA vs. OJ Mayo, Cliff Lee vs. Ryan Braun, Asdrubal Cabrera vs. History, Wings vs. Invicibility, Bloggers vs. Disaster Relief and More. ↵

↵The Opening Pitch: Home-court advantage is never more important than when you can't get it done on the road in the playoffs. ↵

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↵That's the Celtics' story, and they're sticking to it. ↵

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↵The C's don't HAVE to win on the road, courtesy of the HCA they locked up during the regular season. "Advantage" is really "necessity." ↵

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↵Boston didn't look the part of a champ last night in Cleveland, particularly when they were held to just 12 points in the 4th. ↵

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↵Hey, maybe the C's will keep winning at home and make this all a moot point. After all, they won 35 games at home during the regular season. ↵

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↵But maybe they won't. After all, for all those home wins, they also lost 6. And right now, the way they are playing, they can't afford to lose any. It is their fatal flaw. ↵

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↵Let's all agree that whether you're the Celtics or the Cavs or any of the final foursome in the West ... ↵

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↵... If you can't win on the road, you don't feel like much of a champion. ↵

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↵Must-See YouTube Clip of the Day: LeBron James telling his mom to "Sit down!" after she yelled at KG for Paul Pierce's wrap-up foul on her son. Less than 24 hours after Mother's Day, how sweet. ↵

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↵Kobe on tomorrow's Game 5: "I'll be ready to play." Good to know. "I can't imagine it being any worse than it was last night." Hmm: A little more interesting. ↵

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↵NFL: Matt Walsh will meet (separately) with Roger Goodell and Arlen Specter today. Expect dueling spin. ↵

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↵NCAA to monitor hoops recruiting more closely: Are they really sure this is a rock they want to turn over? Because there's a pretty unseemly level of nasty going on. ↵

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↵Meanwhile, it begs a question: What took the NCAA so long? Their lack of aggressive response on this -- over decades -- is partially why we're in this morass to begin with. ↵

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↵(How far back? Oh, just ask the sainted John Wooden or his acolytes about Sam Gilbert.) ↵

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↵By the way, the NCAA tried to insist (laughably) that the OJ Mayo scandal had nothing to do with the new monitoring set-up. OK: Then that just means they are a day late and a dollar short ... yet again. ↵

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↵(Anyone else not buying Bill Duffy's denials about being linked to payments to Mayo?) ↵More NCAA: The head of enforcement* said that the NBA's "one-and-done" rule "might increase the potential for a greater problem" in recruiting, which earns him a huge "Hmmm: YA THINK?!?!" ↵

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↵(* Is there any more laughable title than "head of enforcement" for the NCAA? They might as well call him "Head Eunuch.") ↵

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↵MLB History History: Asdrubal Cabrera became one of only 14 players in MLB history to turn an unassisted triple play. ↵

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↵For the record, that makes it more exclusive than the 500 Club for HRs, the 300 Club for pitching wins and the 3,000 Club for either hits or Ks. ↵

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↵(I was actually at Fenway on 7/8/94 for John Valentin's unassisted triple-play, which was No. 10 on the list.) ↵

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↵More History: Speaking of the 500 HR Club, Manny is now at 498. ↵

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↵MLB Instant History: ↵

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↵Cliff Lee was denied his 7th win in 7 starts this season, but he actually lowered his ERA from 0.81 to 0.67 after throwing 9 shutout innings, before relief blew the performance in the 10th. ↵

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↵Fantasy Stud: Ryan Braun, who had 2 HR ... for the 2nd game in a row. (Meanwhile, catching Lee in the 6-win club yesterday: Livan Hernandez, Carlos Zambrano, Tim Hudson.) ↵

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↵Rays Bandwagon: The Rays have always kind of owned the Yankees, but this latest win on Monday feels a little different. Maybe that's because the Rays are now 22-16 while the Yankees are 19-20. ↵

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↵Barry Zito Watch: Again, he is the anti-Cliff Lee. You know things are bad when "No Decision" feels as good as a win ... because at least it's not a loss. ↵

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↵One Thing to Know About the NHL Playoffs: The Red Wings are unstoppable. They haven't lost in nearly a month (Game 4 of the West quarters), and they are now up 3-0 on the Stars. ↵

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↵CBB: Uh-oh. Is Kelvin Sampson really going to take on the NCAA? Mistake. ↵

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↵David Stern on the "assault" of NBA pregame spectacles: "I think they're ridiculous." And I totally agree with him. Does ANY fan in the arena actually LIKE those smoke machines, the flames, the noise? ↵

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↵NFL: You HAVE to watch the Patriots' moves. Are the Patriots looking to import RB Kevin Jones? Hmm ... ↵

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↵Pop Culture Watch: Bloggers are all kind of late on this, but Matt Leinart's hot-tub episode was an answer on "Jeopardy," which affirms its place in pop culture -- and, more than anything, undercuts the Costas-Bissinger argument that it was off-limits for bloggers. ↵

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↵The Last Word: Participate in the Charity Bowl. My SB colleague Spencer Hall, through his alter-ego Orson Swindle, has created the "Charity Bowl," well worth your time to check out here. ↵

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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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