Lion Face/Lemon Face 11.9.08

In which we analyze the good and bad of the NBA. Those that do well get a Lion Face (Rarr!). Those who do poorly get a lemon face (Oo!). Lion Face (Rarr!)! Lemon Face (Oo!)!

For reference:

LION FACE (RARR!)

Lakers: Is it cool if we go ahead and cancel the playoffs? Can we just play the regular season, have the Lakers and Celtics play in the Finals and call it good? I mean, don’t get us wrong, we’re all in favor of the “lotta games to play” logic, anything to avoid this fate, but Jesus. They dismantled the Rockets, who were supposed to be pretty good. As I commented to Rob last night, “I keep waiting for this team to NOT shoot over 50% in a key non-Finals game. And I continue to wait.” They just keep droppin‘ bombs like a war flick.

LEMON FACE (Oo!)

Wizards:Holy hell did this team get Fedexed to Hell in a handcart. An absolute traveshammockery of a team, winless and sad. It’s to the point where Antawn Jamison has felt it necessary to start making noise. The only reason Tuff Juice isn’t making noise is because he’s the Snake Eyes of the NBA. They can’t defend, they can’t rebound, they can’t hit shots, they can’t run the break, they can’t stop the break, do not pass go, do not collect $200, go directly to FAIL.

LION FACE (RARR!)

LEBRON James: 28.1 points. 8.9 rebounds. 7.0 assists. 1.7 steals. 1.0 blocks. That’s kind of a lot of stuff to do in a basketball game on average. It hasn’t just been the numbers, though. LeBron James is somehow doing more with a team that’s better. He’s been, in a word, sublime. So many of the little things. And at least for the moment, he’s added a step back three. Against Chicago, he murdered them down the stretch going around, back over, then back around the screen and launching it, putting a dagger in the Bulls. It’s getting hard to come up with new ways to discuss James’ brilliance, but just note that the newest wrinkle in Cleveland to put him the post adds a new brutal tactic to an already brutal front-court.

LEMON FACE (Oo!!)

Andre Iguodala: You knew this was coming. 3.5 turnovers. Only 11.5 points. shooting 38% from the field, 18.8% from the arc. Tentative. Weak. Lost. The guy has been one of the biggest disappointments of the early season. Oh yeah, and the Sixers committed $80 bajillion dollars to him this summer. But he’s an elite scorer! He may be, but right now he’s a big ol‘ Warhead of suck.

LION FACE (RARR!)

Defense: Gotta say, we usually hate good defense. But defense so far this year hasn’t been “Annoy you till you make a bad shot and rebound.” It’s been active, it’s been exciting, its’ been turnovers, blocked shots, and smart, hard fouls. The top teams in the league are winning with defense, especially in terms of efficiency with the Lakers and C’s at the top of the pack, and young, athletic squads doing a surprisingly good job so far (Grizzlies #4!!!!). I’ve seen more blocks than usual, and the rebounding battles going on have been insane.

LEMON FACE (Oo!)

Transition Offense: Everything just feels more methodical. What with the Suns winning convincingly with 17 Seconds Or More, Denver running the “wait till 10 seconds left, throw the ball at the rim and watch Balkman rebound” and the Warriors not having Monta’s ludicrous speed, it’s been a slower year. Gotta say, though, there’s still a sense of rhythm, so things haven’t gotten boring. We’re not back in ’99 or anything.

LION FACE (RARR!)

Rooks: OJ Mayo scores 26 in a half. Derrick Rose looks sublime. Kevin Love hits big shots and plays with composure. Eric Gordon looks good. The Lopez twins are competent. Jason Thompson is a Seven Nation Army. JaVale McGee is the lone bright spot on the Wiz. Rookies look good.

LEMON FACE (Oo!)

Sophomores: Durant’s on the worst team in the league and so far has regressed in every notable stat except shooting .7 better. Thornton’s on the third worst team in the league, and he still can’t do anything but score. Horford’s playing well but the Hawks are more of a composite now than they were so he doesn’t have to. Conley has been all over the place for the Grizz, though I still see his bright spots. Thaddeus Young has been a bright spot for the Sixers but isn’t murdering it like we thought he might. This could be the year the rookies beat the sophomores at the All-Star Game.

LION FACE (Rarr!)

Power Rankings: Power Rankings were once so overdone that no one wanted to do them. I mean, after all, they’re all subjective and easily susceptible to bias and don’t mean anything anyway. But somehow, they managed to pass over being overdone and into being okay. Like video games, (expletive deleted) sex, or listening to Journey. And to this, we say bravo. Because now we can adequately judge and mock everyone for their selections while still producing no such rankings ourselves. Viva la us!

LEMON FACE (Oo!)

+/- Statistics: Even with the new and improved ones, there are still some problems with putting a lot of stock into them.

LION FACE (RARR!)

Guns N’ Roses: Congratulations. You finally put the album out with no remaining members of the band, Rose. And there’s Rolling Stone. Ready to gobble upon your Democracy like God Hisownself sent it down. This is like rewarding the Hare for finally dragging it’s worn out ass over the finish line while the turtle smokes a victory cigar. But you finished, so you get a lion face.

LEMON FACE (Oo!) Cardinology: I’m really glad Ryan Adams decided to stop making Grateful Dead albums and just does what he wants. Magikon this album is almost as good as “Halloweenhead.” Almost.

LION FACE (RARR!) Passing out of the pick and roll for the Hockey Assist: Lakers, Hornets, and Suns are making an absolute killing off of the extra pass off pick and rolls right now. Defenses are so amped up with the start of the season that everyone’s rotating too early. Which means that if you play center or power forward and just wait for your man to step up on screener after he receives the ball? Eaaaasy money. We seriously need hockey assists to be added as a formal stat.

LEMON FACE (Oo!)

Going under screens: Here’s a little transcription if you had put a mic on me during the overtime of Parker’s double nickel. “TRAP HIM TRAP HIM TRAP HIM, DO NOT GO UNDER THE SCREEN, DO NOT GO UNDER THE SCREEN, WHAT ARE YOU DOING, ARE YOU INSANE, DO NOT GO UNDER THE SCREEN, TRAP HIM, TRAP HIM, F$!%K!!!!” There’s a reason that the Jazz can play perimeter guys at center, have AK as a distributor, and run and run and run and still play good defense. Because Jerry Sloan will not stand for your pick and roll slovenliness, mortals. Bow to Zod.

LION FACE: Key Lime Pie: Official pie of the Cleveland Cavaliers. Never amazing, always zesty.

LEMON FACE (Oo!)

Bad American Chinese food: Living in Austin, I’ve enjoyed the food immensely. To anyone who’s never been to Texas, Arizona, New Mexico, or southern California, if you think you understand what a tortilla is, shut your mouth and never speak of Mexican again. But the worst part about Austin cuisine is that while the Vietnamese, Thai, and Sushi are incredible, there’s no good Chinese. None. Even the fancy, overpriced places are nothing spectacular. And when you get home on a Thursday and don’t want to go to the store until Friday and just want a f*cking box of Kung Pao chicken and you can’t order it because it’ll result in your dog licking your feet as you relive your drinking days only without the euphoria and jukebox music? That sucks. Bad pizza’s still pretty good. Bad Italian is unfortunate but still edible. Bad Tex-Mex is regrettable but at least you’ll enjoy it coming in. Bad Chinese is an awful experience from start to finish. As a matter of fact, I am now rechristening the Oklahoma City Thunder the Oklahoma Bad Chinese Food.

Hardwood Paroxysm