It feels like a sadistic practice to pit the first seed against the eighth in the first round of the NBA playoffs. When you look at the fourth team facing the fifth, it makes sense because they’re more likely to be evenly matched. Same with the third and sixth. I suppose when a team has busted their buns to get to the top, you throw them a bone that’s easier to chew on first. And that poor team that’s barely dangling above oblivion, it’s up to them to prove they’ve got the sand to contend, so you give them the giant.
You can be a fan, and you can be realistic, but the Trail Blazers going to war with the Golden State Warriors in the first round is as David and Goliath as it gets. The Warriors are a team that will go in the Hall Of Fame with Jordan’s Bulls, Magic’s Lakers, and Bird’s Celtics. Steph Curry is as natural as they come, and he’s got a wrecking crew to back him up. Hope can only take you so far before it runs into that asshat logic.
Even though they had their backs against the wall in game four last night, the Blazers certainly haven’t laid down in this series. We won’t speak about game two, but three quarters of games one and three they had a handle on the Warriors. They were effective defensively and offensively. Sadly, the Warriors had a deadly burst in the fourth of each of those games, and the Blazers just couldn’t keep up.
Tragically, the Blazers had zero fight left in them. The Warriors buried the Blazers 128 to 103, then danced across their grave to advance to the western conference semi-finals. It was a absolute shit way to end the season.
(photos lifted from trailblazers.com)
The first two and a half minutes the Blazers couldn’t hit a barn door with a basketball, let alone a hoop that was 18 inches in diameter. The Warriors had 14 points before Evan Turner finally put the Blazers on the board with a three. With six and half minutes left in the quarter, Turner’s three points were still all they had.
The Warriors eviscerated the Blazers and rolled around in the gore like fat, happy hogs throughout the first. All players wearing blue and gold hit from everywhere and anywhere with ease. The Warriors had 45 points going into the second quarter. It was a surreal nightmare that still had 36 minutes of terror left.
Damian Lillard strapped on his rocket shoes to start the second. He streaked through the paint and around the arch putting up 10 points in three minutes. He valiantly tried to start a fire and get the Blazers going, but they all looked like a bunch of potted plants. Every single step Dame took to try and get a momentum going, the Warriors answered three fold. Dame’s frustration compounded in the final two minutes with a technical foul after he got a little too mouthy with an official over a call he didn’t agree with. I can’t remember ever seeing Dame get a technical foul before. Things were getting heated. I would not be surprised to learn that a tables were flipped or Gatorade coolers kicked over in the locker room during halftime.
The steamrolling continued into the third. The Blazers looked whipped and lethargic. The Warriors’ lead climbed to an ungodly 30+ several times. The dread in the Moda Center was palpable, and some fans couldn’t take it. From where I was sitting, I could see several people making their way to the nearest exit before the third quarter was over.
The only good thing to speak of from the fourth quarter was the standing ovation Dame got when he left the floor after playing 42 minutes of the conflict. After that the color scheme in the arena shifted drastically as Blazer fans filed out and Warrior fans stayed to watch their team advance.
It would’ve been great to see the Blazers go down swinging in the final game of the 2016-17 season, but instead they went out with less than a whimper. It was a heartbreaking end to the season. This year started with a lot of promise, but the Blazers really didn’t make anything of it until the second half of the season. Ideally, next year they will come physically healthy, mentally equipped, and start battling straight away in the season opener. Without any trading or shifting of players, I believe the Blazers have a team that can make a big splash next year.