Wow, people love Kobe Bryant. The Lakers fans showed out in full force for Bean’s final game in Rip City, the Moda Center decked out in a sea of purple and gold. The loudest cheers of the night weren’t from the hometown faithful.

Last night was all about Kobe. After dude hit his first shot late in the first quarter, the crowd erupted with a raucous chant of his name. At the time, Los Angeles was down double digits, and all the Blazers had to do was quietly point to the scoreboard. Welcome to the state of the 2015-2016 Lakers, y’all.

And, whatever, good for Kobe. The last time he was in this building he looked like he was two games away from being sent out to pasture. This living wake was a better sendoff than his last pathetic appearance in town. Don’t get me wrong, he was still awful in this game. He had as many points (four) as turnovers at the break while his team played visibly better with him off the court. But with this being his last game in Portland, his fans were going to cheer regardless. Send the broken old man off in style.

I wish I could say there was a basketball game last night, but it was over shortly after the opening tip. CJ McCollum made Lou Williams look silly, hitting him with some nasty crossovers and freezing head fakes. Damian Lillard had a free path to the rim. It was 24-12 before anyone had broken a sweat.

For all the sendoff fuzzies, Kobe was still mercilessly booed every time he touched the ball. The home crowd erupted when his first shot, a 25-foot three-pointer, missed by a mile. When he tried to throw up a sky hook around a triple team and nearly ended up with a wedgie, there were audible snickers throughout. MVP or whatever.

In terms of actual basketball, Portland had an open lane to the rim all night long. At the start of the third quarter the Blazers started running pick and roll after pick and roll while whatever interior defense the Lakers pretended to have collapsed away. A simple pick and pass to a rolling Mason Plumlee left him with the option to try and dunk it home or dish to a cutting player from the corner. Every time. And every time he made the right read. The Lakers just couldn’t figure it out, and Portland opened up a twenty-point lead just a few minutes into the second half.

Support The Portland Mercury

It also helped that Lillard was on one. He ripped off 36 points in the first three quarters on 14-19 shooting, with two of those misses coming on threes towards the end of the third. He couldn’t miss. Had this actually been a contest, he would have set his career-high in points. But the Blazers led 101-76 heading into the fourth, and Dame had done enough damage early that he was able to sit the entire final frame.

With their team down twenty-plus in the fourth, the Lakers fans tried to start a chant for Kobe to get him back into the game. Can you blame them? The tickets probably weren’t cheap on the secondary market, and what else is there possibly to cheer for during this Lakers season? Dame and CJ dropping a combined 64 points on their porous defense?

So after all that, Kobe and his fading star finished the night with just ten points and a plus/minus of -18. This is the way a career ends, not with a bang but a whimper.