Shanoff's W.U.C.: Nuggets, Peavy, Pens, Ovie

Today's Calls: Carmelo vs. Kobe, Mo Williams vs. the Magic, Jake Peavy vs. Barack Obama, Zack Greinke vs. Joba Chamberlain, Brett Favre vs. Robert Marve, Alexander Ovechkin vs. Evgeni Malkin, Notre Dame vs. Yankee Stadium, Lance Stephenson vs. John Wall and More. ↵

↵The Opening Pitch: Want another sign the Nuggets are going to beat the Lakers in this series? ↵

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↵(Besides the way that Chauncey Billups clowned Kobe, in the signature moment of the West playoffs so far?) ↵

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↵For the first time in a quarter-century, the Nuggets beat the Lakers in the playoffs in L.A. ↵

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↵It wasn't easy or flashy or pretty (per Shoals). But it was a win, which -- coming off the dispiriting loss in Game 1 and given the Nuggets' always-fragile psyche -- was huge. And it underscores that, even though the series is a 1-1 draw after 2 games, the Lakers have yet to out-play the Nuggets. ↵

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↵Carmelo was the cornerstone -- scoring 30-plus (again) AND defending Kobe -- but it only reaffirms that he is thriving in his role as a sidekick to Chauncey Billups. Carmelo may be the Nuggs' go-to scorer, but he remains comfortably second-fiddle to Billups, who simply knows what it takes to win big playoff games. ↵

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↵For all of Melo's points, Billups' steady hand (and playground tactics) typified the way the Nuggets gritted their way to this win -- getting off the schneid in L.A. and grabbing all of the momentum heading into the next two games in Denver.  ↵

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↵MLB Talking Points: Jake Peavy can expect an IRS audit. ↵

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↵• Peavy rejects ChiSox: Obama is NOT going to like this. ↵

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↵• Adding insult to insult: White Sox pummeled by Twins. ↵

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↵• Yanks win 9th in a row: Hottest team in baseball. ↵

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↵• Greinke Watch: No decision? (No!!!) ↵

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↵• Jays still in 1st in AL-E: Red Sox say, "For now..." ↵

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↵• Fantasy Studs: Scherzer and Miller (19 Ks combined, though 2 no-decisions). ↵

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↵SN's NBA Player of the Year: LeBron. Really, is there an argument from anyone? ↵

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↵NHL Playoffs: Oh, sure, Alexander Ovechkin might be SN's NHL Player of the Year, but he's sitting at home watching the playoffs, and rivals Evgeni Malkin and Sidney Crosby are rolling through the playoffs. ↵

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↵Favre Watch: Yep, still retired. (Brad Childress could work for the media!) ↵

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↵NBA GM/Coaching Carousel: If I was new T-Wolves GM David Kahn, I would call Bill Simmons' bluff and offer him a full-time position as "Special Assistant to the GM," and give him a bunch of fan-relations tasks. It would be a PR coup for the GM and the team. ↵

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↵CFB: Notre Dame wants to play at Yankee Stadium? How fitting: In the last few seasons, neither team has been able to come close to sniffing a championship. ↵

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↵Transfers: Robert Marve is going to Purdue, where he has a scholly, rather than Tennessee, where he would have had to walk on. Good choice, Marve: Purdue is a Quarterback U, and your stats and status will reflect that. At Tennessee, you would have been just another peon in KiffinWorld. (Doesn't Marve know that Kiffin is simply "misunderstood?") ↵

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↵CBB Recruiting: Lance Stephenson has the stage to himself, now that John Wall has decided on Kentucky. And, it turns out, Stephenson dropped Kansas -- his one-time leader -- presumably because they signed Xavier Henry. He is down to Arizona (flashy!) and Maryland (UnderArmour!) ↵

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↵Economy: Someone needs to square for me how the NFL can balk at the idea of allowing legalized sports gambling one week, but the very next week encourage its teams to strike licensing deals with local lotteries, which are just as much of a moral morass (if not more) as a state sports-book. ↵

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↵Crime: And you thought things couldn't possibly get worse for Ryan Leaf. ↵

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↵The Last Word: "I don't feel this team can beat us four times." -- Mo Williams on the Magic and offering some bold talk for a guy whose team hasn't proven it can beat Orlando once yet. With that as bulletin board material, my "Magic in 6" pick feels better than ever. ↵

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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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