Is this unbelievably late today? Absolutely. Itâ€™s not even morning in some parts of the world. Unless youâ€™re in one of those weird areas where itâ€™s already tomorrow and in that case, Iâ€™m going to assume you drive a Dolorean, know Christopher Lloyd and have an almanac that already told you who was going to be the Lion Face/Lemon Face for last nightâ€™s action.
Did youâ€™re almanac tell you that there would be new guys doing the intro?
Okay, I lied. Itâ€™s the same guys. It was a test. And you passed. Barely. But I had to know that you were yourself and not some future or past version that had snuck into your cool car and gunned it to a time-traveling speed of 88 miles per hour.
(The LF/LF is late today because of connection problems. My apologies)
Lion Face: Celtics Bench Starring Nate Robinson
The weak Boston Celtics bench that is going to combine with the old starters to supposedly let every Câ€™s fan down this spring was really good last night. Yes, it was the Pistons and everybody is pretty good against the Pistons. But the Celtics bench was extremely productive and efficient in doing so. Nate Robinson led the Celticsâ€™ 39-point contribution with 14 of his own. He did the good Nate Robinson act of knocking down threes and spreading the floor to open things up for everybody. He made four of his five threes and seemed so in control of everything going on. This is the Nate theyâ€™re hoping for and the bench they never knew they had.
Lemon Face: Pistons Shooting Threes
Detroit, have you looked at your roster? Why are you shooting three-pointers so much? Did you watch Nate Robinson and get jealous? So you thought, â€œhey if that short guy can make them, us tall guys can make them too!â€ Tayshaun Prince made three of his six attempts, which Iâ€™m told is very good (Math is hard). However, the rest of the Pistons didnâ€™t make a single three. That didnâ€™t stop them from taking them. The non-royalty sporting last nameâ€™d Pistons were 0/14 from three, which is just like giving away possessions. In a game at home in which you lost by five, I think itâ€™s safe to point to that stat then look at your talent and see that you shouldnâ€™t be taking so many.
Lion Face: Reggie Williams, Stand Up!
First of all, there were moments in the Warriors-Heat game in which the Dubs were sporting an entire lineup of guys who werenâ€™t drafted. Chris Hunter, Anthony Tolliver, Anthony Morrow, CJ Watson and Reggie Williams were all on the court together and it was the winningest win the D-League has ever won before. The most recent call up from the D-League was Reggie Williams who had been lighting up the â€œlesser competition.â€ In the 20 minutes he played Tuesday night, he scored 10 points (4/7 from the field, 2/2 from downtown), grabbed five boards and dished out five assists. Thatâ€™s such a win for a guy like him and a growing â€“ in popularity and respect â€“ type of league like the NBDL. Itâ€™s still great to see guys work their tails off, pay their dues and get to the show. And when they get to the show and perform like this, it just legitimizes everything. Well done, Reggie.
Lemon Face: Kings Rebounding
Every time the Kings got a key stop and were possibly making a run to pull the game into their momentum wheelhouse, they would give up a key offensive rebound. This is why they lost to the Thunder when the Thunder tried to gift wrap the game, give it to them on a special occasion and let them know that there was a gift receipt in case they wanted to exchange it. Overall, the Kings gave up 17 offensive rebounds in a game in which they lost the rebounding battle by 11. This reeked of last season when the Kings couldnâ€™t box out anybody and won 17 games.
Lion Face: Dwyane Wade
I know it was against the Warriors and the triumvirate of Steph Curry, CJ Watson and Anthony Morrow isnâ€™t exactly going to deny shots and create turnovers but the line Dwyane Wade had in Miami last night was sort of 2K10-ish. 35 points, 12 assists, six rebounds, four steals. He made 15/23 shots. Overall, adding the points he scored to the points he assisted, he accounted for 63 of the Heatâ€™s 110 points. Thatâ€™s just damn impressive. We forget just how good he is because his team is so terrible and under-talented. Imagine if they bring in another big name player next season or if he goes somewhere like Chicago. There is going to be a revolution and heâ€™s going to be the architect of it all.
Lemon Face: James Harden
He did make a big three in the second half of this game to end one of the Kings numerous runs that came up short. But when he had to guard Tyreke Evans, it was clear who was the better player. Evans seemed to be breathing fresh air after being smothered by Thabo Sefolosha early on. This allowed him to drive to the basket, get fouled and shoot free throws (17 of them). Harden was too slow and not strong enough. At least he has an eventual playoff appearance this season to hold over Evans.
Lion Face: Ron Artest
Did you see the way he man-handled Danny Granger after man-handling Carmelo Anthony a few days ago?
Lemon Face: Danny Granger
Did you see the way he was man-handled by Ron Artest? Artest got suspended for that kind of cruel performance when he was doing it to the patrons of the Palace at Auburn Hills. Against Danny Granger though, itâ€™s just the kind of scary defense the Lakers fans have been hoping for and the sports writers have been saying he canâ€™t do anymore. Uh oh.
Lion Face: Tyreke Evans
27 points, six rebounds and five assists. Against one of the best defensive teams in the NBA. In a game in which the Thunder dictated the slower pace of the game early on before Tyreke Evans was fed up and decided to push the ball whenever he could. And the speed of the game was turned up to 11, which allowed the Kings to have some breathing room on offense and get back into making this a game for 48 minutes. There are few players in the NBA who can do this. There are few players who can be on the short end of a one-on-three fastbreak and still have the numbers to get a quality scoring opportunity. Tyreke Evans is one. Steph Curry and Darren Collison are not. Letâ€™s not keep pretending there is a Rookie of the Year race.
Lemon Face: Kings Defense
My god! Put a hand in someoneâ€™s face! Grab a rebound! Move your feet to pretend like Russell Westbrook canâ€™t get wherever he wants whenever he feels like it. There are five of you to match up with five of them. Donâ€™t make it look like itâ€™s a power play for your opponents. They donâ€™t have that in basketball.
Lion Face: Kevin Durant + Russell Westbrook = Giggles
They combined for 69 points with Durantâ€™s 39 and Westbrooks 30. They were so good against the Kings that all you could do was laugh. They were a combined 23/45 from the field. Durant grabbed 10 rebounds; Westbrook had 13 assists. They each shot double-digit free throws. Russ made 9/11 and Durant made all 12 of his. If these guys can find a way to harness this effort and efficiency nearly every time out, weâ€™re just going to have to hand this trophy for the next few years to the heartland of America. Of course, it helps when Beno Udrih and Francisco Garcia are the ones trying to check you.
Lemon Face: Pacers Aggressiveness
Kobe Bryant shot 15 free throws in this game. The Lakers shot 15 free throws in the first half alone. The Pacers shot free throws total in the entire 48 minutes of play. Part of this was because Danny Granger was tied up, thrown in the basement and held for ransom by Ron Artest. The other part was this is a terrible team and they have no shot competing in a full game against a team like the Lakers. Youâ€™d still like a little more fight in them in this game.
Lion Face: Quentin Richardson
Quentin Richardson used to be the chubby NBA player who was dating a TV show on UPN and cashing inordinately large checks thanks to playing with Steve Nash and for Mike Dâ€™Antoni before everyone realized what was actually happening in the SSOL era of basketball. He went to the Knicks and everyone was fine with him being mediocre and a bit of a joke. This summer when he was passed around like the flu, he decided to drop around 30 pounds and now heâ€™s dunking three times in a game against the Warriors. Three times! Look at this man. Q, looks great and is moving like heâ€™s in his mid-20s again. Donâ€™t believe me? Heâ€™s the one catching the oop below!