Shanoff's W.U.C.: Magic Rock Rim, Shock Cavs

Today's Calls: Dwight Howard vs. LeBron James, Mike Vick vs. Home Confinement, David Ortiz vs. Mark Reynolds, the Clippers vs. Blake Griffin, Lane Kiffin vs. Twitter, Kris Allen vs. Adam Lambert and More. ↵

↵The Opening Pitch: Now shut up, Cavs fans. Hope you enjoyed the "easy" first month of the NBA playoffs, because it is the reason your team got shocked last night. ↵

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↵Your 8-0 start to the playoffs is meaningless. Your MVP's 49-point effort is meaningless. Your playoff home-court advantage, earned through a season of dominance — especially at home — is meaningless. The "experts" crowing about the Cavs rolling over the Magic? Totally meaningless. ↵

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↵Instead, Orlando came into your house and dunked on your soul. Or, more accurately, broke your building — ripping down your shot clock, in what this morning sure feels like THE signature moment of the playoffs. ↵

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↵It was early, but it set the tone: After their grueling series with the Celtics — and beating the Cavs 2-1 in their regular-season series — the Magic would not be intimidated, and it showed: Orlando out-rebounded the Cavs, out-assisted them, out-shot them (55 percent FG? Ouch.) ↵

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↵The Magic looked entirely comfortable with the atmosphere (couldn't be worse than Boston) and the pressure (couldn't be worse than last week's back-to-back win-or-go-home games). Bethlehem Shoals is right: This was no upset. (How does this relate to last night's "American Idol" finale? Keep reading below.) ↵

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↵Maybe the Cavs — untested in the first two rounds of the playoffs — missed the psychological toughening that happens when you play in a hard-fought playoff game (let alone a brutal series). They have one under their belt now, the hard way. ↵

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↵It might be too late. ↵

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↵NBA Tonight: Given that even Kobe is willing to admit the Lakers stole Game 1, the story line for tonight's Game 2 is whether the Game 1 loss broke the spirit of the Nuggets or whether they are inspired by the blood they drew. ↵

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↵Mike Vick Watch: He is out of prison and on his way back to Virginia — via road trip? If you have seen his house, you know not to pity his "home confinement" too much. Regardless, Vick's image rehab really starts now, with his $10-an-hour construction job and he plans to work with the Humane Society. ↵

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↵Vick to the UFL? This would/should be a no-brainer for the start-up league, but unfortunately for them, Vick is going to be reinstated by Roger Goodell and there will be plenty of teams — NFL teams — that want him. It's nice for him to know the UFL is an option, but he won't be an option for them. ↵

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↵MLB Talking Points: Don't let the fantasy owner holding onto Papi talk smack. ↵

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↵— SN's Top 50 MLB players: Two confirmed cheaters in Top 5. ↵

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↵— Home run for Big Papi?!?! Hey, that's a first. ↵

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↵— Injury Watch: Chris Carpenter looks sharp in return. ↵

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↵— Tonight: Joba vs. Huff Will Chamberlain retaliate? ↵

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↵— Tragedy for D-backs: Condolences about Schoeneweis' wife. ↵

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↵— Fantasy Stud: Mark Reynolds (4-for-9, 2 HR, 3 RBI, 3 R, 5 SB in DH). ↵

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↵NBA Draft: Yes, the Clippers are going to take Blake Griffin. They probably wish — desperately — that they didn't trade for Zach Randolph last year, given that they play the same position (and it's not like Z-Bo is your ideal role model). I still insist Griffin proved that staying in school to "better prepare" for the NBA is for chumps. ↵

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↵Amy Mickelson diagnosed with breast cancer: Here is to a successful battle. Phil is immediately taking a leave of absence from the PGA to support her, and there isn't any debate this is the right thing to do. ↵

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↵WWE vs. NBA: The NBA wins, obviously. The WWE is going to L.A., leaving Denver for the NBA playoffs. Vince McMahon is a powerful guy, but he's no David Stern. ↵

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↵CFB: Another violation for Lane Kiffin. How many more violations — secondary, primary, whatever — does this guy get to commit before the NCAA actually says, "Man, you're a perpetual cheater." Kiffin keeps finding new ways to break the rules: This time it was through Twitter. At least he's creative. ↵

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↵Brian Cook joins The Sporting Blog: One of my favorite bloggers, and he starts strong with the intriguing idea of an NBA NIT. ↵

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↵John Wall to Kentucky, Cont'd: Let's give Mike DeCourcy the last word. ↵

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↵Advertising: You know a blog has broken through when it teams up with a mainstream marketing company to create commercials. Congratulations to FreeDarko (including SN's own Bethlehem Shoals) on their mash-up with adidas — if you haven't gotten FD's book about the NBA, it's a must-have. ↵

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↵”American Idol” Watch: Kris Allen wins, but — like the Magic over the Cavs — don't call it an upset. When it came down to just two competitors, Adam Lambert's lack of a natural constituency opened the door for Kris, who I think won the comp two weeks ago when he turned Kanye West's "Heartless" into an acoustic ballad. Mostly, it was the second straight year when America re-affirmed it knows what it's doing, defying the "experts" — I will continue to insist that if you give America the same chance as part of the BCS system, you will get equally good results as we get with “Idol.” ↵

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↵The Last Word: "I don't think he understands the complexity of the issue." ↵
↵— Big Ten Commissioner Jim Delany on Barack Obama's support of a college football playoff. This represents the craziest thing yet that Delany has said in support of quashing a playoff. ↵

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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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