Lion Face/Lemon Face – 12.05.09

You know what I want to hear.

You played it for her — you can play if for me.

If she can stand it, I can.

PLAY IT.

Lion Face – THE NETS WIN. THE NETS WIN. OH MY GOD, THE NETS WIN.

So, the Nets won. Nice.

Lemon Face – Larry Brown

How you gonna lose to the Nets, son?

the nets first win

Lion Face – Where Mamba Happens

I considered changing today’s Lion Face/Lemon Face post to “Mamba Face/C’mon Son! Face.” Then I remembered that Matt Moore runs HP with the iron fist of god and those who step out of line get found in a rug in the swamp.

Still, Kobe’s good.

Obviously, his game-winning shot last night was ridiculous. And, obviously, it was just as lucky as it was amazing. I’m a Pacers fan and, trust me, Reggie’s 40-foot bank-shot to take that playoff game against the Nets to overtime, while awesome, is somewhat of an afterthought in the cannon of Reggie late-game playoff heroics. It goes (1) 8 points in 9 seconds, (2) the push-off on MJ, (3) the 25-point 4th quarter and then (4) the Nets prayer. (Thanks for humoring me while I unnecessarily listed those out. I just wanted to remember what it was like to enjoy something related to the Pacers.)

What I’m saying here is that it would be easy to watch the clip below, say “Damn, Kobe is so good he even makes game-winners by accident” and go on with your day. But what you wouldn’t be realizing is that, last night, this was exactly the type of shot Kobe was going to make. It was just one of those evenings where he was making shots that have no business going in. Like four times, he did the whole “catch, stare down his defender, take four shot fakes, take one dribble left, shot fake, shot fake, rise up and shoot a fadeaway jumper with a defender draped on him” moves. Those are just terribly low-percentage shots. He used to take them all the time. Now he does so less. But sometimes, Mamba Face just needs to let us all know that he is still not only one of about three guys on this planet who can make those but that he is one of only about three guys on this planet who should not be put to death immediately for attempting them in a game. (And, yes, the guy guarding him on the final play was one of those other two guys.)

Getting back to the game-winning shot itself real quick, it was really cool. It was like the perfect hybrid of the aforementioned Reggie banker, MJ’s “catch the inbounds pass on the right, dart left, pull up in line with the basket and don’t even care about the hand in your face” shot against Ehlo, and Tim Duncan’s pre-Fisher-0.4-second shot where he faded ridiculously far to the left after taking an off-balance shot. Combining three historically awesome shots into one newly historic awesome shot is pretty … um … awesome.

Lemon Face – The Pacers Offense

Watching terrible offensive Pacers quarters this season has been like watching a clown car. Just when you think there couldn’t possibly be another one that would register on the “historically bad for the franchise” list, sure enough, there’s one more right behind it. Last night, the Pacers scored 14 points in the opening quarter, which included a nearly 7-minute stretch where the Pacers didn’t score and the Jazz went on a 17-0 run. They finished the quarter down 14-32, essentially ending any chance they might have had to win in Salt Lake (read, “none”).

But perhaps the worst part is that this wasn’t even the worst quarter this offense has had from an offensive efficiency stand point so far through 17 games. Nope. There have been three worse ones. Just seeing the scores doesn’t really do justice to the ineptness, but I’ll run down three worse ones just for reference: 12-19 against the Clippers in the 1st, 12-13 against the Nets in the 3rd and 15-29 against the Mavs in the 3rd.

Good times.

You obviously care about this less than me, but the offense is getting to be “worth joking about bad” in Indianapolis. So, guys, let’s remember to start mixing in some Pacers punchlines when we’re mocking the terrible offenses of this league. The Bulls and Bobcats deserve a break once in a while. And by putting up 101 points per 100 possessions so far this year (26th in the NBA and more than five less than league average), I think the Pacers have earned it.

clown_car

Lion Face – Welcome back, welcome back, welcome baaaaaaaaaack /MrKotterTheme

“What, yall thought yall wasn’t gonna see me? I’m the Osirus of this s***. Chris Paul will be here forever, motherf*****.” In his first game back from a sprained ankle, CP3 once again proved why he is a superhero with a line of 16 points, 15 dimes, 8 steals and 6 boards. That’s just silly. Not to be outdone (OK, he was outdone in every conceivable fashion including the scoreboard that read “New Orleans 98, Minnesota 89″ but still…), Kevin Love put up a double-double in his first game of the season, which is great news for the fans of a Minnesota team that has in many ways looked worse than even the Nets this year. Good to have you guys back.

i_believe_in_chris_paul

Lemon Face – Hibachi’s Layup

How do you miss a game-winning layup in overtime? Just terrible.

Lion Face – Hibachi’s Threes

The real reason the Raptors beat the Wizards in overtime was due to Hibachi’s missed lay up, Hedo’s fadeaway baseline dagger and a stellar 31/16-game from Chris Bosh. But I like Gilbert quite a bit more than either Hedo or Bosh. So he gets this Lion Face, as much for simply taking 11 threes in a slow-paced game as the fact that he stuck a dagger (trey) of his own just prior to Hedo coming up even clutcher. And, like the Duncan shot before the Fisher 0.4 seconds shot mentioned above, it’s not these guys fault that another guy hit a shot later, too. Like Buckshot, they still got the props. And, yeah, stop passing Gilbert. No one wants to see that nonsense. Just take over, please and thank you. Just launch threes constantly. It’s all I want for Christmas.

Lemon Face – The Mavs’ “Big Four”

Dirk: 7/22
JKidd: 4/14
Matrix: 2/8
Terry: 5/16

No wonder you guys only scored 31 points in the second half. You’re really going to have to not do this again if you want me to take you seriously as a Western Conference contender.

Lion Face – Orange Juice & Mayonnaise

After smacking around Dallas, Memphis has now gone 7-4 after starting off the season 1-8. Nice little turnaround, and a lot of it has to do with the Orange Juice Mayonnaise man. OJ Mayo dropped a silky 25 points last night on 16 shots, including 5/8 from three. This kid is good and even though he’s still prone to the occasional clunker (4/15 shooting two games ago and 2/10 two game before that) he’s still putting up 17 ppg on 45.9% shooting so far this year — and he’s only getting better.

(It should be noted that Zach Randolph was perhaps even more of a beast last night, dropping 24 points with 15 boards, 9 of them offensive. But he’s had quite a few Lion Faces already this year and we don’t want Matt to have a heart attack.)

OJ Mayo

Lion Face – Chris Duhon?!?!?!?

My life doesn’t have a lot of rules. But one code I will not break is: “If a guy who is inexplicably still starting for his team while shooting 32% from the field for the season hits 4 threes on his way to 25 points on 16 shots (plus 10 assists) to help his terrible, terrible team beat one of the better teams in the NBA, he gets a Lion Face.” So, there ya go, Duhon. Make sure your parents magnet this to the fridge because it’s the last time you’ll ever get one.

chickenartcritic

Seth Carstens