Shanoff's Wake-Up Call: Spurs Are Texas Toast

↵Today's Calls: Lakers vs. Spurs, Joey Crawford vs. Brent Barry, Jay Bruce vs. Josh Hamilton, Tim Lincecum vs. Vicente Padilla, Johan Santana vs. Ervin Santana, Big Brown vs. Tiger Woods, Kevin Love vs. Kevin McHale and More! ↵

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↵The Opening Pitch: The NBA's defending champs are finished. In a game the Spurs had to have -- and had no reason to lose -- they blew it, and now their chances of successfully defending their title are nil. ↵

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↵The Spurs are down 3-1 to the Lakers, which means that San Antonio not only has to win three straight against Kobe and Co. -- a nearly impossible order -- but it has to win two of those games in L.A. ↵

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↵And there's your series. ↵

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↵There will be time to praise the Spurs when they are officially ousted. For now, it is simply enough to bury them. ↵

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↵Meanwhile, what a huge win by the Lakers -- giving the Spurs their first home loss of these playoffs. In its own way, it was just as impressive as the Spurs winning Game 7 in New Orleans. It was just as much a pressure-packed situation; it was a must-win for the Spurs. And precisely because it wasn't a Game 7, it makes the Lakers all the more fierce: They can beat anyone, anytime, anywhere -- not just when they have to, but when they want to. ↵

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↵Now, onto the game's controversy: Was Brent Barry fouled shooting a 3 at the buzzer that could have won the game for the Spurs (or led to a game-winning free throws)? Watch and judge for yourself. ↵

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↵I think Barry was clearly fouled; it was a terrible no-call by Joey Crawford, compounded by Crawford's history of animosity toward Gregg Popovich and the Spurs. ↵

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↵Given the enormity of the game's result, this will deservedly be the story of the day. But, ultimately, it won't change the reality that the Lakers have this one all but closed out. ↵

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↵MLB Instant History: Jay Bruce is the real deal. Batting second and playing center field, he made it look easy in his MLB debut, going 3-3 with 2 R, 2 RBIs and drawing 2 BB. ↵

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↵Fantasy Stud: Josh Hamilton, who had 5 RBIs against the Rays to up his MLB-leading total to 58. Can you imagine the Rays if they kept him? ↵

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↵Seven-Win Club: Tim Lincecum, who earned it the hard way -- against the NL West-leading D-backs in Arizona. (More: Ervin Santana, Vicente Padilla) ↵

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↵Injury Watch: Dice-K has a "tired shoulder?" Already? ↵

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↵Rare sighting: Triple steal! It had been more than 20 years since the last triple steal before the Indians pulled one off last night. Between triple steals and unassisted triple-plays, the Indians are a history-making machine. ↵

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↵Pedro back with the Mets next week? It's either "too little, too late" or the ideal spark to bring the Mets back. Too early to tell. ↵

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↵(Meanwhile, Johan Santana pitched the Mets to a huge win over the first-place Marlins. If Johan had lost, I think Willie Randolph would have been fired today, so consider it a stay.) ↵

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↵If you didn't see the MLB main page of SN.com, it's: Walk-off. Walk-off. Walk-off. Walk-off. Wow. ↵

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↵Triple Crown Watch: So apparently Big Brown is just fine and ready to win that Triple Crown. (Faulty hoof? What faulty hoof?) ↵

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↵Golf: Tiger is on track to be ready for the U.S. Open. Sorry, let me rephrase: Tiger BETTER be ready for the U.S. Open. ↵

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↵College World Series: Dallas Baptist is to the CWS what Gonzaga was to the NCAA Tournament in the late 1990s. (Oh, just go with it. You need a CWS rooting interest, don't you?) ↵

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↵NFL: Redskins trade for Vikings DE Erasmus James, who, in his prime, at Wisconsin was one of the best college defensive lineman I have ever seen. Injuries have totally wrecked his NFL career. ↵

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↵The Last Word: Ugh, do I really agree with Kevin McHale? ↵

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↵Yikes. ↵The latest NBA draft rumor is that Kevin McHale -- who holds the No. 3 pick -- is high on Kevin Love, which scares me, because I agree with his assessment. ↵

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↵I think Kevin Love was the best player in college basketball last season (and he does not have the Hansbrough-esque "will-stink-in-NBA" vibe). The T'wolves may not be an ideal fit -- TWO undersized post players? -- but Love is at least as deserving as anyone else of being that first guy taken after Derrick Rose and Michael Beasley. ↵

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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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