Shanoff's WUC: NBA's Biggest Game (7) Ever?

Today's Calls: Lakers vs. Celtics, Game 7 2010 vs. Game 7 1984, Kendrick Perkins vs. Andrew Bynum, Tom Izzo vs. Michigan State, Utah vs. the Pac-10, Roy Halladay vs. David Price, Chipper Jones vs. Retirement, Brazil vs. North Korea, South Africa vs. Uruguay, Albert Haynesworth vs. Chris Johnson and More. ↵

↵The Opening Pitch: Lakers-Celtics. Game 7. ↵

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↵Is tomorrow night the single-most-anticipated game in NBA history? ↵

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↵At the very least, let's put it on the short list and throw this out there: Is this the biggest game the NBA has had since the last time these two teams met in a Finals Game 7, in 1984? ↵

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↵(Yes, that leapfrogs the entire Michael Jordan Era, which was defined less by compelling do-or-die games than MJ's sheer dominance, along with the past decade, which included similar undrama from the Kobe-Shaq axis and the Duncan Dynasty.) ↵

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↵To put Lakers-Celtics-Game 7 in perspective: If you are under the age of 30, you have no recollection of the last time the Lakers and C's played a Game 7, just the stories from your older co-workers or relatives. ↵

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↵If you are under 40 or 45, however, it might be one of your defining memories as a sports fan. Older than that, this must feel like a welcome alumni reunion. Consider the maximum levels of: ↵

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↵Star power. (Kobe! KG! Jack!) ↵
↵'Stalgia. (Magic! Bird! 80s!) ↵
↵Stakes. (Title or failure!) ↵

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↵Kobe is remarkably -- but understandably -- unfazed: "The way we look at it, it is just a game we've got to win. ... I don't mean to be a buzzkill. I know what's at stake, but I'm not tripping." ↵

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↵For the next 48 hours, the rest of us will be. ↵

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↵Lakers. Celtics. Game 7. Enough said. ↵

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↵Game 6: What a shellacking. The Lakers destroyed the Celtics with defense. They routed them with rebounding. They KO'ed the Celtics' most effective post player. They out-played them with their bench. They took whatever momentum the Celtics had heading out of Boston and obliterated it. ↵

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↵The best/only stat you need: The Lakers held the C's to the 2nd-lowest-scoring performance in Finals history. ↵

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↵Tom Izzo Staying at Michigan State: This was the right move for the best coach in college basketball, particularly with a team that should be considered the No. 1 contender to win it all next year. I will say that his Hamlet-esque dalliance with the Cavs was off-putting, in that it made me question his commitment to MSU -- something I never thought I would feel about Izzo. But his press conference was sincere enough to win me back. By the time he reaches yet another Final Four in March, all will be forgotten. ↵

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↵Big 12 Denouement: So my neighbor is a huge Big 12 guy, and he dropped by last night to make sure I understood that in most of Big 12 country, fans couldn't care less about the rest of the league giving away every bit of money and power to Texas; all they wanted was to keep their nice little hoops league together. Fair enough, and suddenly the payoffs to the teams at the top make sense. ↵

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↵What's Next: Utah to the Pac-10? Would be a great move for both sides. Utah could be the best bowl-eligible team in the league -- they certainly have come closer to a national championship more recently than any other teams in the Pac-10. ↵

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↵Great read: Brian Cook on college football expansion winners and losers. ↵

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↵World Cup Mania: That goal yesterday by Maicon in Brazil's win is as electrifying -- and unlikely -- as you will see in this tournament, connecting on a near-impossible angle, even if you allow that the GK made a mistake by leaving a few extra inches by the near post. The trajectory of the ball was gob-smacking. (Today's best: South Africa vs. Uruguay) ↵

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↵MLB Talking Points: ↵

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↵• Chipper Jones retiring? HOF-worthy? ↵

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↵• WS Redux: Halladay can't help Phils. ↵

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↵• Ace Watch: Price wins 10th. ↵

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↵• Fantasy Stud: SP Jake Arrieta. ↵

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↵NFL Offseason: The dominant story line? Disgruntled players. Darrelle Revis. Then Chris Johnson. Now, Albert Haynesworth. ↵

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↵NBA Free Agency Mayhem: How badly does Miami want to keep Dwyane Wade? So badly that county officials are changing the name from "Miami-Dade" to "Miami-Wade" for the first week of July. At least it rhymes. (Couldn't you see the desperate folks in Cuyahoga County, Ohio, saying "We'll change the name to 'LeBron,' no questions asked. And not just for a week; forever!") ↵

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↵GM Carousel: Steve Kerr is leaving the Suns and heading back to TV, where the money is just as good but the stress is infinitely less. Anyone want to run a team whose star is an aging point guard, whose big man is ready to bolt in free agency and whose team likely peaked for the decade a month ago? ↵

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↵USC Scandal: Oh, Pete Carroll, just zip it. ↵

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↵NBA Draft: Is Wes Johnson a lock for the T'wolves at No. 4? ↵

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↵Happy Birthday: Phil Mickelson, who turns 40. ↵

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↵The Last Word: "I'm pleased to say I'm here for life at Michigan State." -- Tom Izzo ↵

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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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