Shanoff's Wake-Up Call: Again, CP3 for MVP

↵Today's Calls: Chris Paul vs. Kobe Bryant, Clemens cheating vs. Clemens cheating, Ervin Santana vs. Joe Saunders, Albert Pujols vs. Ozzie Guillen, Cubs '86 vs. Cards '86 and More! ↵

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↵The Opening Pitch: When it comes to NBA MVP, are you going to believe the "voters" or your own eyes? ↵

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↵Because, today, the voters are going to say "Kobe." Not a bad choice, though -- typically -- lacking much inspiration or imagination. ↵

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↵But if you watched last night's Hornets-Spurs game, you could feel exceptionally good about supporting the MVP alternative: Chris Paul. ↵

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↵Paul was sensational (30 points, 12 assists), but more remarkably, he has led the Hornets in something that hasn't been done since 2001: Putting the Spurs in an 0-2 playoff hole. ↵

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↵Sure, in 2001, Kobe was on the last team to do it -- but Kobe was second-fiddle to Shaq. ↵

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↵CP3 is the unquestioned leader (the MVP, if you will) of this entirely likeable, entirely uplifting Hornets squad, as of last night, affirmed as the NBA's Story of the Year. ↵

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↵Even down 0-2, I would never write off the Spurs -- this will be the biggest test yet of the decade-long Duncan Dynasty. ↵

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↵But I would write in Chris Paul ... for MVP. ↵

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↵More NBA: I might not be willing to write off the Spurs just yet, but I AM willing to write off the Magic, who feel d-o-n-e vs. the Pistons after losing Game 2 last night. ↵

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↵No, the mismanaged clock at the end of the 3rd -- when Billups hit a 3 to put Detroit up 2 heading into the 4th -- didn't really matter, as laughably egregious as it might have been. ↵

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↵That said: The NBA (heck: EVERY league) needs to modify its replay rules to allow officials to consult a replay monitor, particularly in the case of a clock malfunction (or "malfunction.") ↵

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↵Quote of the Day: "I have made mistakes in my personal life for which I am sorry." -- Roger Clemens ↵

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↵(To clarify: Clemens unrepentantly denies his alleged cheating in baseball, but cheating in his marriage gets a "sorry?") ↵

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↵MLB Instant History ... ↵

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↵Max Scherzer's debut as a SP: OK, so he is no Jamie Moyer. ↵

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↵Pujols' game-winning gallop? I was there. (See "Last Word.") ↵

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↵Who is the bigger fad: Ervin Santana (6-0 after his CG 4-hitter with 9 Ks) or his teammate Joe Saunders (also 6-0)?... ↵

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↵How hot are the Red Sox right now? They can survive 8 BBs from Dice-K, and still win their 4th straight. ... (Hey, weren't the Tigers supposed to be hot heading into May? They have lost 4 straight ...) ↵

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↵Jays fans can thank the White Sox for being good for what ails 'em: Toronto's first 4-game sweep since '03 and suddenly only 1 game under .500 (and only 1 GB 2nd place in the AL East) ... ↵

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↵By the way, Ozzie Guillen has a point ... ↵

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↵This is just wrong. The rivalry between Red Sox and Yankees fans just went from "intense" to "insane." It's sad to have to say this, but I sure hope there isn't any sort of "retribution" in the future. ↵

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↵NBA Coaching Carousel: If I were Mike D'Antoni, I would pick the Bulls over the Knicks. Better talent to fit D'Antoni's system. ↵

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↵NFL: The "Favre Jersey Kid" enters his 15 minutes. 12-year-old David Witthoft finally took off the Favre jersey he had been wearing for 1,581 straight days. Blame the parents. ↵

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↵More: I believe Marvin Harrison has some explaining to do. ↵

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↵Olympics: So the IOC says that any sort of protest -- a gesture, clothing, a sign -- is against the rules, but won't say what the punishment is? That's not good: Expect protests to abound. ↵

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↵The bigger question is whether NBC will cover them with any sort of fairness or with the interest of the consumer in mind; this is the network that refused to show a replay of Eight Belles' death. ↵

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↵(We can argue about whether it would have been appropriate to show that footage, but NBC's decision-making makes it clear that when it comes to sports, they have very little interest in journalism.) ↵

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↵Strat-O-Matic Update: My turn as the manager of the '86 Cubs ended horribly, with an NL East-worst 70 wins, a full 18 games behind the surprising (and history-chaging) division-winning Cardinals. I should fire myself. ↵

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↵The Last Word: Albert Pujols is awesome. Last night, I was sitting 3 rows behind the dugout on the 3B side of Coors Field, the perfect vantage point to see Pujols truck from 2nd to home on a groundout to 2B in the 9th, leading the Cards over the Rockies. He looked like an NFL running back. ↵

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↵Unrelated observation: Cards fans -- and there were a ton of them -- are the nicest opposing fans I have ever sat around. ↵

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↵(Speaking of Sketchiest Parenting Ever from the Favre jersey item, there was a couple sitting two rows ahead of me -- right on the dugout -- who brought their toddler and infant to the game. I'm not opposed to that per se, but the dad was holding the infant on his lap, fully facing the batter -- including when lefties were up, right in the line of fire of foul balls. It made me and others around me very uneasy.) ↵

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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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