Shanoff's W.U.C.: Celtics, Crawford, A-Rod

Today's Calls: Celtics vs. Magic, A-Rod vs. Insecurity, Carl Crawford vs. Jason Varitek, Sean O'Hair vs. Tiger Woods, Brett Favre vs. Green Bay and More. ↵

↵The Opening Pitch: OK, so now what? ↵

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↵We now reach the dull middle of the NBA Playoffs. Sure, the Celtics-Bulls series was epic -- even if Game 7 was an anti-climactic dud compared with the rest of the series. ↵

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↵So the Celtics survived: Is there that much intrigue over whether they will get past the Magic? (I suppose it is mildly interesting to see whether the C's expended themselves so much over the last 3 weeks with the Bulls that the Magic can steal home-court advantage with a win in Boston tonight.) ↵

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↵We are back to the inevitable: The Lakers will beat the Rockets (starting tonight). The Cavs will cruise past the Hawks (starting tomorrow). Both favorites will roll in the conference finals. ↵

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↵In the end, Celtics-Bulls was fun while it lasted ... but ultimately meaningless -- a distraction from the dominance happening in L.A. and Cleveland. ↵

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↵There is a reason that 1st-round series -- heck, almost every playoff series -- are almost entirely forgotten. There is just no time for the Celtics (or fans) to revel in any sort of success. ↵

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↵Speaking of forgotten, the Finals favorites are still rolling along -- like headliners waiting on the cheers for the opening act to peter off. ↵

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↵More NBA Playoffs: The Mavs had as much success with the Nuggets as they did during the regular season. ... If Celtics-Bulls was a contender for Best 7-Game 1st-Round Series Ever (see Last Word below), was Hawks-Heat a contender for Worst 7-Game 1st-Round Series Ever? ↵

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↵A-Rod, Cont'd: The new book about him comes out today, and its underlying theory is that his whole deal is about ... working out daddy issues? ↵

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↵MLB Talking Points: ↵

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↵• Milestone Watch: Crawford steals 6 ↵

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↵• Red Sox-Yankees, Cont'd: Zzz ... didn't they JUST play? ↵

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↵• Who's the bigger 2009 dud: CC or C-Lee? ↵

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↵• Strasburg Mania: Nats can't screw this up. ↵

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↵• Rookie Watch: Matt LaPorta picks tough day to debut. ↵

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↵• Fantasy Stud: Justin Verlander (7 IP, 2 H, 1 ER, 11 K) ↵

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↵NHL Playoffs: This would be the play of the playoffs so far. ↵

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↵Golf: Hey, Sean O'Hair didn't choke to Tiger this time. (And the sport is worse for it -- when Tiger doesn't win, everyone loses.) ↵

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↵NFL Offseason: How long do you think Kellen Clemens lasts as the Jets' "QB1?" I'll give it through the end of August, tops. ↵ ↵

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↵Favre Watch: What kind of "hero" makes his decisions out of spite? ↵

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↵Infrastructure: Horrible news about the paralyzed Cowboys scouting assistant. ↵

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↵NBA Awards: Warkentien wins Exec of the Year. When the Nuggets folded in the 2008 playoffs and the team traded away Marcus Camby, its defensive linchpin, for a 2nd-round pick, you could hear the howls across the league. But the trade for Billups swung things the other way -- it was one of the best moves by an executive this decade. ↵

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↵RIP: Jack Kemp, AFL QB and longtime politician. Loved football, hated taxes. ↵

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↵Derby: Why SHOULD Mine That Bird run in the Preakness? All that can happen from here is that his legend erodes. When you're a 50-to-1 shot who puts on one of the most amazing spurts in the history of the Kentucky Derby, there isn't anywhere to go but down. ↵

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↵The Last Word: With the Celtics-Bulls series behind us, it can now be said definitively -- it was NOT the best 1st-round NBA Playoff series ever: Warriors-Mavs in 2007 was the best ever. Boston-Chicago had better individual games, but Warriors-Mavs was the first 8-over-1 in a 7-game NBA series. ↵

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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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