Shanoff's W.U.C.: Kobe vs LeBron? Not Quite

Today's Calls: Nuggets vs. Lakers, Melo vs. Kobe, JR Smith vs. Dahntay Jones, Mo Williams vs. Dwight Howard, Padres vs. Blue Jays, Syracuse lacrosse vs. Texas baseball, David Reutimann vs. Danica Patrick and More. ↵

↵The Opening Pitch: If it isn't obvious yet, the Nuggets ARE better than the Lakers. ↵

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↵Imagine Kobe Bryant going 3-for-16 from the field in the conference finals -- and the Lakers still winning by 19. Would never happen. ↵

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↵But Carmelo -- bugged by an injury-flu combo -- had just that kind of miserable game. And yet Chauncey Billups made the big shots. J.R. Smith had a breakthrough game. And the Nuggets' big men led a Denver 58-40 rebounding edge (20-9 offensive). And so even without much of Melo, the Nuggets still won by 19. ↵

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↵All of a sudden, the Lakers' supporting cast seems feeble -- Gasol went for 21 and 10, with 4 assists and 3 blocks, but the telling stat was that he was -16 plus/minus for the game, no match for Denver's K-Mart/Nene/Birdman trio. Odom? Non-factor. Ariza? No impact. Bynum? Dud. Fisher? Looked old. The Nuggets reserves Smith and Andersen -- suddenly the NBA model for high-energy sub -- out-played the Lakers' entire bench. ↵

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↵Everyone may want to see Kobe vs. LeBron in a superficially star-powered NBA Finals, but the deeper teams -- the Nuggets and Magic -- have the obvious advantage in these conference finals. ↵

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↵When a Phil Jackson-coached team gets behind, the Zen Master goes straight for the straw man -- usually, it's criticizing the refs; this time, he blasted Dahntay Jones for Jones' trip of Kobe. Expect the Lakers to get ALL the calls when the series goes back to L.A. for Game 5. ↵

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↵Cavs-Magic Game 4: "We're the best team in basketball." So says Mo Williams, who obviously hasn't been watching much of this Cavs-Magic series, in which Orlando has established itself as the best team in basketball. Mo's series "guarantee" doesn't faze me (come on: What player wouldn't pick his own team to win a series?) -- his assessment of his team as "best" is the problem. ↵

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↵Mike Tyson's 4-year-old daughter on life support after a freak accident involving a treadmill wire. Here's hoping for her recovery. ↵

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↵MLB Talking Points: ↵

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↵• Wild comeback: Indians season not a TOTAL loss. ↵

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↵• MLB's Hottest: Padres win 10th in a row. ↵

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↵• MLB's Least Hot: Jays lose 7th in a row. ↵

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↵• A-Rod in Texas: Boo ME? Try 5-5 on for size. ↵

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↵• Fantasy Stud: Freddy Sanchez (6-6, HR, 3 RBI, 4 R, SB). ↵

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↵NASCAR: David Reutimann will tell you -- there is no such thing as a "bad" win in NASCAR, especially when you are a driver pushing 40 earning your first Sprint Cup win ever. ↵

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↵Syracuse repeats as NCAA LAX champs: And it was absurd. They were down 9-6 with 5 minutes to play, yet managed to come up with the takeaways -- not to mention the rallies -- to win the game and a second straight national title. ↵

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↵College World Series: Texas is the team to beat. ↵

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↵Favre Watch: So the Vikings are demanding a decision from Favre about a comeback by this week, eh? Like they wouldn't take him if he decided to tell them in, say, mid-July. What an empty threat. ↵

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↵T.O. whines: It was Tony Romo and Jason Garrett's fault! Wahhh. ↵ ↵

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↵The Last Word: Take yesterday off? I didn't. Click here to check out yesterday's Wake-Up Call, including an argument over who the best team in sports is; a knock on "LeShot"; Helio vs. Danica; why the Cavs have ended the LeBron 2010 discussion and more. ↵

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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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