Lemon Face/Lion Face 10.28.09

The good, the bad, and the hilarious from around the league.

DISCLAIMER: Yes, it was one night. I’m simply going to try and acknowledge good and bad performances, not project. Except for Blair. Read on.

What is Lemon Face/Lion Face?

Lion Face: DEJUAN BLAIR

I’m a fool. I foolishly tried to defend the decision of 29 NBA GMs, thinking that yes, some of them were morons, but surely there was some valid reason not to grab the kid. I erroneously called out 48 Minutes of Hell yesterday about talking about ROY votes. I wanted to see if he would even get minutes, if he would be able to keep it together against actual regular season competition. And it’s possible his knees could fall off tomorrow. But you look at his college career. You look at his training camp. You look at his preseason, and you look at tonight, 14 points on 7-10 shooting in 22 minutes, with 11 boards. Simply beastly. And it wasn’t just the numbers. He caught no-look passes that most rookies whiff on. He passed out of the post, which I have yet to see Michael Beasley do effectively.  He moved in transition, he bodies up veterans, he slugged it out, got his buckets, and you can tell the team accepts him. He’s Spurs material. I was wrong. Great game.

Lemon Face: Byron Scott

Hmm, what’s that? Oh, I’m facing a terrific defensive squad, my team hasn’t played at full strength for more than a week, my best shooters are so old they’re basically baby boomers, and I have almost no weapons. I know! Let’s take the big, beefy, warrior small guard who can score and rebound and de-activate him! Marcus Thornton would not have been the difference in this game. But there’s no excuse for him not being on hand to get playing time. Did Bobby and Devin Brown really earn 26 minutes of a blowout? The Hornets (and the national networks scheduling them in primetime) need to realize they are not the same team from 07-08. Everyone else has gotten better while they have backslid. It’s time to find something else. I can’t see Peja suddenly breaking out and looking 28 again, same with Mo Peterson. They need weapons. Darius Songaila is not such a weapon.

Lion Face: Brook Lopez

Centaur is at the next level. 27 points on 19 shots, 15 rebounds, 4 assists, 5 (!) blocks. Are you kidding me? That the Nets managed to lose this game is the topic for another time, needless to say it took a perfect storm of Lawrence Frank’s horrible coaching and Damien Freaking Wilkins to overcome Centaur. Lopez isn’t going to reach over and dunk like Andrew Bynum or smother you like Greg Oden, but he’s got a better work ethic than either of those guys. Hustle, touch, and a mean streak. Lopez is going to win games for the Nets this year.

Lemon Face: Don Nelson

Mr. Nelson, I know you’re a busy guy and all, what with destroying the dreams of young men, submarining a once proud franchise and crushing the souls of a loyal fanbase, but could I ask you a favor? When your team blows a ten point lead in four minutes to start the second half, when they can’t buy a bucket, when they’re a young team trying to find their footing against a scrappy veteran crew? Think about throwing them a bone and taking a timeout? I mean, I’d prefer it if you’d just get up and quit right now, but we all know you don’t burn the potato crops because you’re not thirsty.

Lion Face: Andrea Bargnani

Yeah, yeah, only five boards. I hear you. He was facing Shaq, Varejao, Z, and LeBron. Meanwhile,  Bargs defended Shaq well and offensively was a well-oiled machine. And 28 points in 29 minutes on 11-15 shooting, 2-3 from the arc and perfect from the line? Bargnani wasn’t just getting buckets, he was working his tail off and playing smart, efficient basketball. Dragon Man had his range going, but was also slashing, attacking, and finishing. He knew how to make his opponent paid,and he did, no matter the price. Great start for him.

Lemon Face: Charlotte Cats

They don’t deserve the Bob part. There was nothing manly about that. I stuck up for you, Cats. I said you wouldn’t be that bad! There’s simply no excuse for playing like that, even if it’s Boston. Harvey Danger had more hits than them. An Absolutely depressing performance, which shows that their neglect of the offense over the sumer was borderling negligence. They can turn this thing around, it’s only one game, after all, but they’re going to have to come up with some answers about twenty minutes ago.

Lion Face: LEAGUE PASS

League Pass reran all the early games between 10 and 11 PM, allowing me to record early games i missed from recording two early. Great, great feature and I hope they keep it past the free preview period. Huge advantage for those of us stuck watching bad games while DVRing who wanted to see different things later on. And by different things, I mean Russell Westbrook. Small hands. Smells like cabbage.

Lemon Face: Drama

Damien Wilkins? That’s who the story is? Really? Good luck, Longhorns.

Matt Moore

Matt Moore is a Senior NBA Blogger for CBSSports.com's Eye on Basketball blog, weekend editor of Pro Basketball Talk on NBCSports.com, and co-editor of Voice on the Floor. He lives in Kansas City due to an unbelievably complex set of circumstances and enjoys mid-90's pop rock, long walks on the beach and the novels of Tim Sandlin.