It’s a three-hundred and eighty-five degrees today in sunny Las Vegas, but people will tell you it doesn’t feel that hot because it’s a “dry heat,” which doesn’t exist. The truth — do you want the truth? Because here it is — that walking from the inside of an air conditioned building to the outside feels like preheating an oven to 450, crouching down, and opening that oven door directly into your face. But it’s a dry heat.
After a big night last night at the Venetian’s Bourbon Room, which does serve bourbon but technically is not a room as much as a cordoned-off lounge area, we rose groggily this morning to head back to Thomas & Mack and catch some more dry hot, D-League action. While we spent much of yesterday inside the cool, intimate environs of Cox Pavillion, home of the Lady Runnin’ Rebels, today we began in the massive arena landscape of Thomas & Mack itself for the Heat v. Kings. Some notes from the afternoon are as follows:
-The Heat’s Josh Smith, possibly playing against his future employers today if trade talks mean anything, clearly used his $100 per diem to eat twenty and a half $4.99 steak and egg meals from Bally’s just before the game. He was looking a little rough out there. He played like I jog.
-Hey everyone, there’s Deandre Liggins! Working to join the Kings squad after stints in Sioux Falls, Russia and Germany, Deandre’s hoping to join fellow Cats alumni Willie and DeMarcus and looked to be giving it all he had and leading the Kings with fourteen points and three assists. Willie joined him with twelve points and nine rebounds as Sac-Town (do people call it Sac-Town? I’m going to) fought back from a twenty-five point deficit to beat the Dry Heat 73-68.
-Karl was in the house with nine points and only four rebounds in the ‘Wolves loss to Cleveland’s randos as Lebron James watched from the sidelines. Tyus Jones also ran the floor well and ended up with eleven points of his own. Side note: I’ve never in my life seen the energy of a room change like I did today when Lebron walked through the door. Literally everyone sat up in their seats, kids jumped, a thousand cell-phones came out of a thousand pockets. I don’t think I’ve ever experienced such a visceral reaction from a room full of people to a star as I did today. Crazy.
–Montrezl Harrell looked good for the Houston Rockets today, for whatever that’s worth.
–Best name today? Cleveland center Rakeem Christmas.
-Is wearing sunglasses on the back of your head a thing now? Because at one point today I could see four people wearing them this way. It’s stupid. Sunglasses go on the front of your head, idiots.
-Willie is a star in the making. The Sacramento fans in the crowd are clearly into him (the biggest fan bases are, unsurprisingly, fans of California teams) and he graciously signed autographs for a long line of kids in the concourse after the game. The NBA seems to be positive about him too, with several signed items being raffled off by the NBA for charity being items signed by WCS. This is a good sign for how he’ll be marketed as a player in the bigs.
-Julius Randle came up with eleven points and five rebounds in a loss to the Utah Jazz, too, but I’ll be honest, we were watching Karl play. So I looked that one up.
-Nerlens Noel is playing in a “Celebrity Ping Pong Tournament” with Dr. J and others tomorrow at the Venetian, and we received a coupon for $50 off the entrance fee to that tournament, which means that a full-price ticket to watch Nerlens Noel play ping pong is AT LEAST $50. I don’t know about you guys but I wouldn’t want to watch anyone play ping pong FOR FREE, much less people who are probably not seasoned ping pong players.
-Old Vegas is in the proverbial cards for tonight. Dinner and drinks on Fremont Street, the only place in Las Vegas where I feel handsome. Have a great night, gang, and merry Rakeem Christmas!