Shanoff's Wake-Up Call: History Against Celts

↵Today's Calls: Celtics vs. History, Kobe vs. His Teammates, CC Sabathia vs. Cliff Lee, Mike Mussina vs. Justin Verlander, Manny vs. YouTube, Arlen Specter vs. George Mitchell, Justine Henin vs. Michael Jordan, Big Brown vs. the Field and More ↵

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↵The Opening Pitch: Can the Celtics really win the NBA title without winning a game on the road? After yet another home win last night, they at least raise the unprecedented possibility. ↵

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↵History is against them: No team has ever done it. Actually, no team has ever won a conference title without winning on the road. ↵

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↵Even more interesting: No team has ever gotten beyond the conference semis without winning at least one playoff game on the road. ↵

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↵Then again, no team has ever had a one-season turnaround like these Celtics have. (KG's 26 and 16 last night was a nice symbol of why Danny Ainge is going to win NBA Exec of the Year.) ↵

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↵And, more importantly, the Celtics won't ever need to win on the road. They earned HCA through the entire playoffs. As I said the other day, it is less "advantage" than "necessity." ↵

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↵Enjoy the unprecedented: The Celtics will make history by getting to the conference finals through Boston alone. ↵

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↵But they won't make the Finals -- let alone win the NBA title -- without winning on the road. History demands it. Either the Pistons or the West champ will steal one in Boston. ↵

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↵Then what will the Celtics do? That road reaction -- and not this home perfection -- will be the mark of the champion. ↵

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↵But maybe this is the Year of Home Cooking: The Lakers took a 3-2 lead with a win last night in L.A. that was less about Kobe (who took no FG shots in the 4th) than his teammates, and the Spurs face a win-or-stay-home Game 6 in San Antonio tonight. Expect both series to go 7. ↵

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↵MLB: The Indians pitchers are unstoppable. Their starters haven't allowed a run in 43 innings, including a shutout W for CC Sabathia yesterday (5 H, 11 Ks). ↵

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↵More MLB Instant History: What's in Ted Lilly's Wheaties? (11 Ks, 3rd straight W). ... The same could be asked about Mike Mussina, who has now won 5 straight and hand-cuffed the sizzling Rays. ... Fantasy Stud: Matt Stairs. ... Fantasy Dud: Is Justin Verlander (7 losses) the new Mike Maroth? ... Since April 8, the Red Sox have had exactly 1 day off; they get another one today. (Yeesh: Think they need it? They have lost 6 of 8 in the last week, including a 2-game sweep from the O's.) ... Sustaining the Rays' success for the long-term takes shape with that 3Y/$28M deal for Scott Kazmir. ... ↵

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↵Video Clip of the Day: Manny being so so so Manny. Manny Ramirez makes a wild catch (rightly pointed out as probably a function of his being out of position to begin with). But then he proceeds to high-five a fan in the outfield ... and THEN help double-up the runner at 1st. Say this for Manny: He plays the game with joy, and that makes up for a lot of his other flaws. ↵

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↵Arlen Specter can't let Spygate go: While I appreciate his enthusiasm, his call for a "Mitchell"-style report about the Pats cheating will have little traction with fans or media. Then again, neither did the Mitchell Report when it was first announced. ↵

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↵(I will say this: I wouldn't mind a little more investigation into the circumstances surrounding the NFL's sketchy decision to quickly destroy all the evidence the Pats turned over to them. That has less to do with the Pats' integrity than it does the league office's.) ↵

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↵One Thing To Know About the NHL Playoffs: At least the Stars showed SOME pride in avoiding being swept by winning Game 4. They will, however, still lose their series with the Wings. ↵

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↵Justine Henin retires, as expected, but more notable than most athlete retirements because she became the first women's tennis player to retire while ranked No. 1. ↵

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↵It is weird timing, given the French Open's start in 2 weeks (and her being the 3-time defending champ). It just highlights the extent of her burnout. ↵

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↵Prediction: She will un-retire, eventually. I don't think a great athlete can retire on top without eventually acting on some level of lingering regret and returning to their sport. ↵

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↵Preakness: Unsurprisingly, Big Brown is the favorite (1-2 odds). I'm certainly not picking against him. ↵

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↵CFB: Ryan Perrilloux goes to Jax State. He can start immediately, and it will be interesting to see how much he can dominate at the FCS (ne 1-AA) level. ↵

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↵The Last Word: Is anyone all THAT surprised that Tom Brady would criticize sports media for their coverage of Spygate? ↵

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↵(And, by the way, given many fans' impatience with the media's obsession with the story, Brady probably has a lot of supporters.) ↵

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↵But Brady is being dumb when he faults sports media for being overly sensationalistic in this case. From blogs to TV, when haven't we been? ↵

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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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