Shanoff's W.U.C.: Cavs, Karl, Citi, Kalas

Shanoff's W.U.C.: Cavs, Karl, Citi, Kalas ↵Today's Calls: Cavs vs. the Field, George Karl vs. Phil Jackson, Citi Field vs. the Mets, Zack Greinke vs. Zach Duke, Matt Stafford vs. Greg Paulus, Kansas vs. UNC, Remembering Harry Kalas. ↵

↵The Opening Pitch: The NBA Playoffs just got interesting. ↵

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↵Think the Lakers are the team to beat? Not anymore. They will have to get through Cleveland first -- figuratively and, now, literally. ↵

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↵By clinching home-court advantage throughout the NBA playoffs -- including the Finals -- the Cavs take the league's best home record into the 2009 playoffs. ↵

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↵And if LeBron and Co. do nothing but hold serve at home, they will be champs 16 wins later. ↵

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↵If the Celtics didn't have home court advantage a year ago, they arguably wouldn't have gotten out of the first round. They couldn't beat the Cavs in Cleveland, either. And putting the Lakers in an 0-2 hole after 2 games in Boston set the tone for the Celtics' 6-game run to the title in the NBA Finals. ↵

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↵Can the Celtics beat the Cavs in Cleveland during the playoffs -- even just once? The Celtics lost all 3 games in Cleveland last May during the playoffs. Earlier this season, Boston lost there by 15; on Sunday, they humiliatingly got shellacked by 31. ↵

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↵There is an interesting twist: The Cavs' only loss at home? To the Lakers. ↵

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↵Despite the Cavs' stellar home record, all it takes is a single loss to flip the script. ↵

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↵George Karl on the Lakers: "I think they are a great team, don't get me wrong, but I don't think they're in that 'unbeatable' category that people want to put them in." Anyone agree with the Nuggets coach? Anyone? Anyone? (Didn't think so, at least in the West.) ↵

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↵MLB Myopia! ↵
↵• Citi Field debut: Losing mojo for Mets ↵

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↵• Royals: are 4-3; Yankees: are 3-4 ↵

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↵• Milestones: Dye/Konerko join 300 Club ↵

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↵• Firsts: Hitting for cycle at Dodger Stadium ↵

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↵• Fantasy Studs: Lilly, Duke ↵

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↵• RIP: Mark "The Bird" Fidrych. ↵

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↵NFL Draft: More signs Stafford going to Detroit? The QB is telling his buddies that he will be a Lion, done-deal. It is very possible that a team would obfuscate its intentions -- even to players it may want. But all signs point to Detroit rebuilding around the Georgia QB. ↵

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↵Greg Paulus ... NFL QB?! Wouldn't it be wild if Greg Paulus couldn't start for Duke hoops, but could make the NFL as a backup QB? He would be the Bizarro Charlie Ward. ↵ ↵

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↵Draft Must-Read: Mike Florio grades the 2006 draft. His verdict? 11 "busts," 19 "not-a-busts," and 2 "incompletes." (Guess where he puts Reggie Bush?) ↵

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↵NBA Draft: With Sherron Collins and Cole Aldrich staying in school -- and either Xavier Henry or Lance Stephenson joining them -- put Kansas at the top of the list of contenders to dethrone UNC next year. If KU can be a Top 10 team in a "rebuilding" year, how good can they be when NOT in one? ↵

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↵More: Louisville's Earl Clark -- a possible Top 10 pick -- is jumping in the draft. Wake's Al-Farouq Aminu -- another Top 10 pick -- is staying in school; perhaps the Demon Deacons' pathetic showing in March convinced him he has unfinished business in college. ↵

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↵CFB Spring: With all the injuries to Florida's starters, Saturday's spring game will be more of a showcase of the Gators' depth than a spectacle of its front-line talent. (Watch back-up QB John Brantley.) ↵

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↵The Last Word: "Outta here." R.I.P., Harry Kalas. You will be missed. ↵

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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. Follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/danshanoff. ↵

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This post originally appeared on the Sporting Blog. For more, see The Sporting Blog Archives.

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