Shanoff's Wake-Up Call: Spurs Not Dead Yet

↵Today's Calls: Tony Parker vs. Chris Paul, Chauncey Billups vs. Ben Wallace, Brandon Webb vs. Daniel Cabrera, Kason Gabbard vs. Richie Sexson, Papa John's vs. Speed Racer and More! ↵

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↵The Opening Pitch: What, like the Spurs were just going to roll over? ↵

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↵Throughout their dynast-ish run, what sets the defending champ apart is that they reflect Duncan's disposition: Very little fazes them. ↵

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↵Oh, sure, Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili play with passion. (Each had 31 last night, TP battling CP to a virtual and highly entertaining draw.) ↵

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↵But the Spurs are the consummate defending champ: You cannot -- and should not -- pick against them until they have officially lost that 4th game. ↵

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↵The Hornets still have home-court advantage -- and have flashed an admirable fearlessness. But as the series goes on, the unflappable experience of the champ becomes an even bigger advantage. ↵Celtics bounce back: See how much easier things are when all 3 "Big Three" show up? ↵

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↵When Pierce (19) and Allen (16) pull their weight, KG (13, 12 rebounds) doesn't have to do nearly as much to be effective. ↵

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↵Meanwhile, LeBron's problems continued: 6-24 FG, and the Cavs were held to 35.6 percent on FG as a team. ↵

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↵MLB Instant History: ↵Brandon Webb is 8-0, and in sight is the 25-win barrier, which hasn't been sniffed since Randy Johnson won 24 for Arizona in 2002. ... ↵

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↵The Rangers-Mariners brawl, featuring Kason Gabbard vs. Richie Sexson (set up by King Felix vs. Ian Kinsler), reminds me how stupid baseball's "unwritten rules" are; I'm no fogey, but it's an embarrassment for MLB that plunking and retaliation are encouraged. ↵

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↵Fantasy Stud: Daniel Cabrera, who earned a CG 3-hit W, including 7 Ks. ↵

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↵Kevin Youkilis! ↵

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↵Ozzie Guillen speaks more bleeping truth, pointing out that the media loves the freaky personalities: ↵

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↵"Why do you think they like Lou Piniella? Because Lou is good? Great guy. Great baseball people. But people love Lou Piniella because he's ... up!" ↵

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↵(The fact that this is even a link shows that he completely understands the current media landscape.) ↵

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↵Clemens Watch: Brian McNamee's lawyers are going to send PIs to Houston to dig up dirt on Roger? Why not just call Mindy McCready? ↵

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↵All-NBA announced: Kobe, Chris Paul, KG, LeBron, Dwight Howard. Congrats to CP3 and Superman on their 1st 1st-team. ↵

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↵(Kobe was the only unanimous pick: Which idiotic voter(s) didn't think any of the other 4 weren't 1st-team material?) ↵

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↵Notable: Deron Williams consummated his breakthrough year by making the 2nd team. ... The most amazing All-NBA player of all was Manu Ginobili, who made the 3rd team as a 6th Man. ↵

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↵If Chauncey Billups can't play in Game 4 tomorrow, the Magic may very well tie this series up 2-2. ↵

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↵Meanwhile, someone get Big Ben an endorsement deal with Allegra! (Actually, his allergies seem to have been triggered by the Celtics' pre-game smoke overload. Can't the NBA crack down on that?) ↵

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↵What a surprise: 23-cent pizzas from Papa John's were really popular in Cleveland. If you stood in line for 90 minutes to stick it to "Papa John," that seems reasonable. If you stood in line that long because the pizza was only $0.23, re-evaluate your priorities. ↵

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↵One Thing You Should Know About the NHL Playoffs Last Night: If you score 3 power-play goals in a playoff game, you will win. ↵

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↵NFL: Mike Vick now owes a Canadian bank $2.4 million for defaulting on a loan. Now: Can he repay that in autographed "prison league" football cards? ↵

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↵Pats Cheating Scandal, Cont'd: Why would you think the Pats wouldn't be taping offensive signals, as well as defensive ones? ↵

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↵Hmm: Will Roger Goodell parse things to punish the Pats further, given that before he only nailed them for "defensive" signal-stealing? ↵

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↵CFB: Must-read from Spencer Hall, comparing the NCAA's Academic Progress Rate to No Child Left Behind. ↵

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↵The Last Word: Go, Speed Racer, go. The most extravagant sports movie of the year opens today: Speed Racer. ↵

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↵(What: You don't think it's a sports movie? It's just "Days of Thunder" meets "The Matrix.") ↵

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↵Now, I'm not sure how much appeal Speed Racer will have with the NASCAR base, but then again, "fanboy" has an entirely different meaning, too. ↵

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↵(I used to LOVE the old Speed Racer cartoons<. Not as much as Star Blazers, but certainly enough. Here's a trip back to your childhood.) ↵

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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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