Lion Face/Lemon Face 03.04.2010: The Bill Walker Reclamation Project Edition

A full slate of games. 12 games of NBA scheduled and yet, we were mostly left disappointed. There were only three games that were decided by single digits and only two of those were good ones.

So while the schedule makers get a Lion Face for effort, the execution of the actual games definitely gets a Lemon Face.

Let’s turn to our judges to see if they concur:

Yep, the ruling is official. Now let’s get faced!

Lion Face: LeBron James
Check out this video of some highlights from the Cavs game against the Nets:

By the way, those were only highlights from the first half of this game. When it gets to these games between the Cavs and the dredges of the NBA like the Nets and Knicks, LeBron just seems to be messing around. And when he’s messing around, he’s giving us some of the most fun and insane highlights to go with what’s scarily becoming insanely normal stat lines for him. 26 points and 14 assists in 41 minutes for LeBron tonight. Wait, why did he play 41 minutes in a game in which the Cavs were manhandling the Nets from the get-go?

Lemon Face: Mike Brown
Act like a coach, MB, and sit your superstar when the game is in hand. Why risk the injury or put miles on the odometer with LeBron when it’s completely unnecessary? Don’t forget that you’re the coach and you get to say who is coming in and out of the game… in theory.

Lion Face: Orlando Magic Rebounding Domination
58 to 29 rebounding advantage over the Warriors? 16 offensive rebounds to the Warriors 29 TOTAL rebounds?

HULK SMASH!!!

Lemon Face: Top Rookie Point Guards
If you’re in the Top Three running for the 2010 Rookie of the Year award, you did not have a good Wednesday night. Brandon Jennings had just five points (on 2/12 shooting, 1/6 from three), six rebounds, five assists and six turnovers. But the Bucks won so that’s excusable. Stephen Curry scored nine points (on 3/12 shooting) and had seven assists to go with his five turnovers. He was also a -25 for the night in the Dubs’ blowout loss to the Magic. But worst of all definitely had to be Tyreke Evans. ‘Reke had nine points, eight rebounds and five assists to go with his one, single turnover. Doesn’t sound too bad especially considering they won, right? Wrong. He was dominated by Shane Battier all night and simply couldn’t get a shot to fall. He was 4/22 from the field, 0/4 from three and 1/3 from the free throw line. He nearly cost the Kings their sixth road victory of the year.

Lion Face: Shane Battier
Not only did Shane Battier manage to completely shut down what was thought to be a nearly unstoppable force in rookie Tyreke Evans but he also blocked seven shots in this game. His defense against Evans was flawless. He anticipated every single move that Tyreke made. Tyreke went to the spin move and Battier had already slid over. Evans tried to side step him to free up for a little runner in the key and Battier had his hands completely in the path of the ball. Wherever Tyreke went, Battier had already called ahead for reserved seating.

Lemon Face: The Kings-Rockets Game in General
On a night in which only three of the 12 games ended in a single-digit margin of victory, the Kings three-point win was clearly the worst of them all. The Kings refused to make shots and the Rockets refused to rebound and make shots. The Kings shot 32% from the field. The Rockets shot just 39% from the field while making only 22.7% from three and 61% from the charity stripe. They also allowed the Kings to grab 24 offensive rebounds, which factored into the Kings taking 23 more shots in this game than the Rockets did. In fact, the Kings attempted 100 shots total in this game, which is kind of insane. Plus there were only 31 combined points scored in the fourth quarter of this game. Ugh.

Lion Face: Rodrique Beaubois
Rodrique Beaubois is not only a ton of fun to say but it’s always the name of an invincible human being. This little French guy was the backup point guard to Jose Barea who was stepping in for Jason Kidd. And he dominated his 29 minutes on the floor with 17 points on nine shots, including 3/5 from three-point range. He also had four assists and a blocked shot. It’s hard to explain his style of play. The best I can come up with is he’s like watching one of those guys who can beat Super Mario Bros in like five minutes. Everything is too fast to keep up with and you’re just amazed at some of the jumps and speed this guy uses.

Lemon Face: James Posey Decision-Making
Ummm… Yeah… this happened on the Hornets last possession of the game when they were down two.

Lion Face: Kevin Garnett
Everyone is so quick to knock him down now that he’s a Boston Celtics, more visible than most players and a fiery guy that likes to try to get in the heads of his opponents. People seem to take joy in the fact that he’s battled injuries over the past two years, which is simply a white trash way to be a basketball fan. But if we’re going to bash him for being slow and incapable of doing the historically sick stat lines that he used to produce in ‘Sota we should at least make note of the rare nights from here on out in which KG looks extremely active and positively affects the game in being so. 12 points, five rebounds, four assists, four blocks and two steals isn’t changing the game but it was an encouraging effort from a seemingly-getting-healthier Kevin Garnett.

Lemon Face: Bobcats Starting Lineup
A way to fight for the a playoff spot is not getting just 40 points from your entire starting lineup. That’s not going to get an expansion franchise their very first playoff berth.

Lion Face: SSOM
Gian Casimiro, who currently runs Knick Blog, used to run Seven Seconds Or Mess. It was also a Knicks blog that celebrated/analyzed the Seven Seconds or Less era that Mike D’Antoni was bringing into Madison Square Garden. Well, on nights in which SSOM is clicking at the ole MSG it can be quite a beautiful thing. 128 points with four starters scoring at least 21 points is pretty damn fun. They shot 55% from the field, made 12 threes, turned the ball over just eight times and had 31 team assists. David Lee led the way with 21 points, 18 rebounds and eight assists. That’s just a fun night of basketball as long as you’re not the Detroit Pistons.

Lemon Face: OKC Thunder
You had a showdown date in Denver with a team you needed to measure yourself against. You also had a Kevin Durant versus Carmelo Anthony aspect to this game that was supposed to be fun, exhilarating and hopefully something that would end up on Hardwood Classics. Instead, you got a game in which the Nuggets completely dominated and peaked by obtaining a 40-point lead at one point. Carmelo slapped Durant around with a 30-19 scoring advantage. Nene, Kenyon Martin and Chris Andersen wrecked whatever excuse for a frontline the Thunder tried to throw at them. HELL! Even Anthony Carter had 12 assists off the bench. If I had to put my finger on what was the most telling stat of this game, it had to be the 26 team turnovers that resulted in 31 points for the Nuggets. That definitely didn’t help the Thunder stake a claim to the upper echelon of the Western Conference.

Lion Face: Mike Conley… wait, THAT Mike Conley? Yep, Mike Conley Had a Day
I probably shouldn’t talk about this because I’m sure Matt won’t want me to jinx it but did you see the game that Mike Conley had against a formidable backcourt combination of Darren Collison and Marcus Thornton? 21 points on 11/18 shooting, seven assists and five steals. That’s not too shabby. Especially considering that Darren Collison lit up MC Crappy Point Guard a few weeks ago, this was a nice showing by someone that owes the Grizzlies fans a few good showings in a row.

Lemon Face: Indiana Pacers sans Danny Granger
Danny Granger: 30 points, 12/22 shooting, 1 turnover
Rest of his team: 49 points, 21/54 shooting, 17 turnovers.

Guess if the Pacers pulled out an incredibly improbable win at Portland or if they were destroyed by 23 points? Go ahead; guess for me.

Lion Face: Grant Hill Will Have None of That
Travis Outlaw, you should’ve known that Grant Hill drinks Sprite.

Lion Face: Bill Walker Is Becoming Self-Aware
Via Posting and Toasting, Bill Walker is getting it done. Good to see:

Seth Carstens