It's over over, guys. A Trailblazer season which seemed to hold such promise ended with a sad whimper down in New Orleans on Saturday. The 6th place Pelicans swept our Blazers 4-0 in a best of seven series which nearly everyone expected to go the Blazers' way. Talk about killing our collective buzz, man.
What happened? Was this team not really as good as we thought? Are the New Orleans Pelicans the next NBA superteam? It's a little hard to say right now, but a few things were made clear by this shockingly depressing sweep:
1) Something needs to change for these Blazers to move ahead. We can expect some combination of roster/coaching/front-office shake up in the coming months. Many will be calling for the break-up of the vaunted Lillard/MCollum backcourt. One way or another it's likely the end of an era.
2) It's hard to be a Blazer fan sometimes.
3) The Pelicans are actually a good team. Anthony Davis is headed for the NBA hall of fame and will be terrorizing opposing teams for years to come.
Saturday's game was a hard fought affair with a dozen lead changes and a near comeback by the Blazers in the final minutes, but really, in the end, it was just a sour cherry on top of a turd sundae of a playoff series. Even the Blazers themselves got frustrated with the effort, as evidenced by the multiple skirmishes which broke out in the second half. Videos below:
Afterwards coach Stotts was reflective on the effort, looking tired and beaten down:
The players were thoughtful as well. “I think this one probably hurts a little more because we had such a great season, and we came in with really, really high expectations,’’ Damian Lillard said.
If you've followed this team through the peaks and valleys of this 2017-18 season, it's hard not to feel a little depressed. Us Blazers fans willingly allow our collective mood to become tethered to the fate of this upstart team. We get high when they win and positively euphoric when they take down the big guys from the richer, glitzier metropolises. This year's team featured the youngest roster ever to make it to the NBA playoffs, and the Blazer's highest place finish since the 1999-2000 season. It should have been a season we all looked back upon fondly, but right now, it's hard to believe this will be the case.
Good old Mo Harkless had some wise words for fans and teammates alike: “I think we should be proud of what we did in the regular season, and then just learn from what happened in this postseason.’’ Ok Mo, let's do that!