Shanoff's W.U.C.: Cavs, Mavs, Caps, Zim, UNC

Today's Calls: Cavs vs. the World, Dirk vs. Carmelo, Celtics vs. Magic, Rockets vs. Lakers, Capitals vs. Penguins, Mark Wilf vs. Brett Favre, Barack Obama vs. Tyler Hansbrough, Johan Santana vs. Carl Pavano, Ryan Zimmerman vs. Randy Johnson and More. ↵

↵The Opening Pitch: The Cavs are refreshingly boring. ↵

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↵Other NBA playoff series have drama: The defending champs get pushed to the limit in one of the most memorable playoff series ever, then find themselves in a slugfest with the upstart Magic. The presumptive champs in L.A. can't beat an undersized Rockets team with an undrafted 6-foot-6 center. The Mavs have no chance, but at least they are going out guns blazing, with controversy and trash-talk. ↵

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↵The Cavs swept the Hawks last night, same as they swept the Pistons in the first round. Clevelend is 8-0 in this playoff season. Basically untouched. Even with LeBron and Co. on the road for a second straight game, the closest the Hawks could come was last night's double-digit margin. ↵

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↵There is no "amazing" happening with these Cavs. Just winning. They might even be considered uncool, in their buzzsaw approach to the playoffs. ↵

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↵Let the other teams have their drama. The Cavs will merely wait for the next drained opponent, then cut them down, too. ↵

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↵8-0. 8 to go. ↵

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↵Mavs finally win one: Call it a moral victory. The Mavs finally beat the Nuggets this season. They avoid the humiliation of a sweep. They give their fans in Dallas something to cheer about. (And they got to jeer both Kenyon Martin, who yapped at Mark Cuban, and Carmelo Anthony, who poked Antoine Wright.) They get a sensational game out of Dirk. So let's not talk about how it should be 2-2, rather than 3-1. (But get real: With two more games in Denver, there is no chance the Mavs are winning this series. Especially when Birdman returns — he was a DNP for Game 4.) ↵

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↵NBA Tonight: Is there a bigger cliche in playoff sports than the "pivotal" Game 5? Given that both the Magic and the Rockets have won on the road, a win tonight by either isn't that crazy. The Magic are on the spot to bounce back after the deflating buzzer-beating loss to the C's in Game 4; the Rockets are on the spot to take their amazing Yao-less lineup and make subtle adjustments (because you know the Lakers will be making big ones). ↵

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↵NHL Playoffs: Caps-Pens ... whoa. What a series. The Caps were up 2-0 in the series. Then the Caps were down 3-2 in the series, including a devastating loss in D.C. on Saturday night. But with last night's OT win AT Pittsburgh, the Cardiac Caps survive for a Game 7 back at home. Tomorrow night is must-must-must-see. (Eric McErlain has your top analysis of what went down last night.) ↵

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↵MLB Talking Points: WHAT? Only four games?!? ↵

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↵— Hard-luck Johan: 6.1 IP, 0 ER, 6 K ... and the L ↵

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↵— 300-Win Watch: Big Unit wins No. 298 ↵

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↵— Bright spot for lowly Indians: Carl Pavano? Really? ↵

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↵— Fantasy Stud: Ryan Zimmerman (4-for-5, 2 HR, 4 RBI, 2 R -- PLUS that 29-game hit streak) ↵

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↵Manny Cheating Manny, Cont'd: Elevated levels of testosterone? At some point, the new and emerging details become extraneous — the main takeaway remains that all signs point to him cheating. ↵

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↵CBB: UNC meets Obama. It’s significant for two reasons: (1) Obama picked UNC to win it all on his bracket, which allowed him to beat 80 percent of the country on picks; (2) There is no statistical evidence that it actually won him the state of North Carolina, but playing pickup hoops with UNC couldn't have hurt Obama's strategy that flipped the state from red to (Carolina) blue. ↵

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↵John Wall Watch: Duke? Florida? Kentucky? Miami? I thought Coach K was done with one-and-done players (guess not). Of COURSE he should go to Florida (nevermind Kenny Boynton). Is he Calipari's Derrick Rose 2.0? (nevermind Eric Bledsoe). Mike DeCourcy breaks down the contenders. ↵

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↵CFB Must-Read: Interview with Mike Leach from the blog Bitter Lawyer. A key part of the Leach myth, of course, is that he went to law school but never practiced. Anyone who has read my "Let every 1-A team in the playoff" will appreciate that Leach also would like to see a ton of teams in a playoff — 64, actually. Love it! Yarrr ... ↵

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↵Job Hunt: Chris Mullin is out in Golden State. Where could he end up next? How about back in his hometown New York with the Knicks? (Hey, just in time for the team to position itself to get LeBron ...) ↵

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↵YouTube: Watch this new Nike video of LeBron and Kobe as puppets and tell me you don't see the two players' competing personalities, ideologies and neuroses all wrapped up into 60 seconds. I think I need to call in Bethlehem Shoals for a consult on this one. ↵

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↵Video Games: It's not just that Punch-Out is coming back. It's that Nintendo created a 2-minute mockumentary to promote it. ↵

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↵Does Big Baby owe an apology to the 12-year-old Magic fan he collided with after he hit the buzzer-beating game-winner in Game 4? It's not like he shoved the kid on purpose. And wouldn't/shouldn't the kid wear any bruises like a badge of honor? If you're not going to hope for some kind of (almost entirely) benign collision with a player when you sit in the front row, what good are having those sick seats? ↵

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↵The Last Word: "Sure, there's interest in Brett Favre." ↵
↵— Vikings president Mark Wilf. ↵
↵So: Where do we go from here? (Oh, that's right: Favre ends the everyone-look-at-me posturing and un-retires ... again.) ↵

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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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