Lion Face/Lemon Face 11.7.09

When the cat is away, the mice will play … or Tyreke Evans will go off… it’s something like that.

Hit it, Ben and Matt!

Lion Face: Tyreke Evans
Citizens of Salt Lake City. Please take your daughters to the doctor and make sure they get a sonogram. Tyreke Evans’ play tonight against the Jazz may have impregnated the young ladies in the city with the high-sodium lake. Evans proved that writing rookies off after five games is stupid unless that player is Hasheem Thabeet. He dropped (do players still drop points?) 32 points, recorded seven assists, and attempted 19 free throws in one game (after attempting 20 in the previous five games). He dunked the basketball twice, which hadn’t happened yet in his career. And they weren’t just his normal, Candace Parker vertical dunks. These were actual DUNKS. The Jazz flat out couldn’t handle him. They didn’t want to handle him. They just wanted him to stay the hell away from their daughters… too late.

Lemon Face: New Jersey Nets… again
Do you know what the Nets offensive efficiency is for the season so far? 93.2. They have scored 100 points one time this season. They’ve scored under 90 points three times this season and under 80 points twice in seven games. Saturday night, they scored 76 points. They turned the ball over 24 times, which ended up being 10 more times than they went to the free throw line. Now, I don’t really care that they traded away Vince Carter and I couldn’t care less that Devin Harris is MIA right now. I don’t even care that Jared already gave them a Lemon Face yesterday. This is a putrid team worthy of contraction right now. Sure, they’ll get their Russian billionaire next year, they’ll hightail it to Brooklyn and Jay-Z will woo LeBron and someone else to pair with Brook Lopez and whatever is left of the New Jersey Nets. But it doesn’t excuse the crap I had to watch tonight as they uglied it up with the Celtics like their name started with an “S” and ended with an “andra Bullock.”

Lion Face: Wesley Matthews/Jodie Meeks of the world unite!
I love second round guys when they play well, seemingly out of nowhere. And even more than that, I love undrafted guys who make a name for themselves out of nowhere. So when I see Wes Matthews having back-to-back solid games and Jodie Meeks breakout with a great shooting night off the bench in Michael Redd’s absence, I get the shivers in a good way. It must be like the guy who discovered Alyssa Milano for the first time.  The talent was abundant and the future seemed to be right as rain. In fact, I’m so impressed with Wes Matthews after two games, I’m fairly confident to make the knee-jerk reaction of dubbing him the Anthony Morrow of 2009-2010. And Jodie Meeks? How would you like to be my steal of the second round draft? Keep shooting like you did tonight (five threes, 17 points) and I won’t have a choice. Yes, even over you Chase Budinger.

Lemon Face: Toronto Raptors Defense/Pride
You gave up 62.4% shooting from the field. 62.4%!!! What’s wrong with you? How do you even sleep tonight? I like the Mavs as much as the next non-Rob Mahoney but allowing them to shoot over 60% for an entire 48 minutes is just pathetic. Not only that but you also gave up 44 points in the fourth quarter, including 18/22 shooting for the Mavericks. And even though this may put me on Matt Moore’s permanent Lemon Face list, JJ Barea should NEVER get 12 assists off the bench in less than 25 minutes. Somewhere, JE Skeets is rolling over in his grave.

Lion Face: Christopher Zane Kaman
It’s one thing to watch Chris Kaman overpower Anthony Randolph and Mikki Moore last night. It was another thing to see him drop 26 points and nine rebounds against the hillbilly hydra, a.k.a. Marc Gasol, Zach Randolph, and Hasheem Thabeet. Chris Kaman is putting up averages of 23 points and almost 10 rebounds per game. He’s made 58% of his shots. He’s blocking nearly two shots per game. The incredible part of his offensive game has been the balance he shows. It’s face-up jumpers, followed by drop steps and half hooks. He’s throwing the proverbial book at his defenders and they’re cowering in justified fear. Throw in some moments like this and I think we have ourselves an All-Star candidate.

Lemon Face: Allen Iverson
Allen Iverson is no longer with the Grizzlies, kind of. He’s dealing with personal issues and has taken a leave of absence from the team. It’s a lemon face because you have a supremely talented NBA legend that isn’t willing to accept his current fate and try to work through it. In the meantime, you have a young, prolific scorer in Sacramento missing the next two months because his wrist freakishly became displaced. Not fair, NBA gods. Just not fair.

But in all seriousness, I hope everything is right with the A.I. world.

Lion Face: Joakim Noah
This is a serious question – is it impossible for Joakim Noah to make the All-Star team in the East? May I officially start the All-Star Noah campaign? He gullied the Bobcats frontcourt on Saturday by getting 21 points, 16 rebounds, four blocks, and three assists. On the year, he’s big upping at 11 points, 11 rebounds, and over two blocks per game. He’s also shooting 60% from the field. He’s made elbow jumpers. He’s dunked on people. He’s let the bird’s nest on top of his scalp bounce on every fast break. I want him in this All-Star game not only because he could potentially deserve it but also for the fact that we may get a dance out of it.

Lemon Face: Deron Williams
Why is a guy who had 29 points and 15 assists getting a Lemon Face? Because I feel like he’s sweating the next meeting between him and Tyreke Evans. In their preseason meeting, Williams was overheard talking to teammate Ronnie Price about having to guard Evans. He said something to the effect of “I have no idea what to do with him out there.” Fast-forward a couple of weeks and the youngster puts up his first 32-point game against him. We all know about the struggle for point guard supremacy that has gone on in the past between Deron and Chris Paul. Now after two meetings with the All-Star point guards, Evans has outplayed them both.

Lion Face: Josh Smith, esq.
I feel like Josh Smith, esq. is the human version of the Slap Chop. We have no idea if he actually works or not. We have no idea if he’ll fall apart or last forever. And we try to convince ourselves he’s a great deal for the price. But on nights in which he puts up 22 points, nine rebounds, seven assists and six blocked shots, does it even matter what the answers to the previous questions are?

Lemon Face: Knicks Offense
I feel like the character Alpa Chino in Tropic Thunder getting frustrated Robert Downey, Jr. when he’s portraying his version of a black man even though he’s a white Australian. At one point he screams, “You’re Australian! Be Australian!” Well, New York Knicks… “You’re an offensive-minded team! Be offensive!”

After losing a road game to the Bucks, the Knicks have now failed to score 100 points or more in four of their seven games this year and are in the bottom ten (22nd overall) in offensive efficiency. They’re the fourth worst shooting team in the NBA and sixth worst in shooting three-pointers (something their expensive offense is centered around). When LeBron either stays with Cleveland or signs with the Brooklyn Nets (and those are the only two real possibilities), at what point do the two years leading up to the summer of 2010 become a complete waste of time? Is everybody going to be happy with Joe Johnson getting a near max contract to play in New York? Does this bother any non-Knicks fans as much as it bothers me?

Lion Face: Rudolph Gay
Rudolph is not his real first name but after things like this, I feel it ought to be:

Seth Carstens