A Clean Death

Let’s all pour one out for Portland. Because I can’t remember a time I’ve respected a team more for losing in 5. They weren’t even supposed to be there last night.

I said it myself- Steph contracted their franchise and leveled the entire city in Game 4’s OT. It was effectively a 3-1 series win. And last night should have been just a trip on the corporate jet to the Bay Area for an early vacay.

For the Blazers, that game should have been nothing more than a corporate retreat. Take some pics on the Golden Gate. Take a little wine tasting excursion up in Sonoma. And then drop into Oracle buzzing on Pinot and to get your doors blown off.

But they didn’t. They were dead sober, dead serious, and looked nothing like a team dead in the water. I respect that they didn’t think the series was over. Or they didn’t care. Jumped out to a double-digit lead, ruining the MVP party, looking like they have the entire series: Like they don’t’ give a damn about the so-called Warriors’ destiny.

They lost in 5 just like the Rockets. But they looked NOTHING like that crew.

Houston only played Game 5 because they were contractually obligated too. They looked like they barely wanted to play Game ONE. Tight, bored, annoyed, hating each other.

Portland looked like a bunch of friends playing on a weekend, lose, fun, like a team that had nothing to lose.

And it’s no surprise – they’ve done it all season. They lost LaMarcus Aldridge; they were supposed to be the Damian Lillard Lottery show this year. The Warriors might be the best team ever? Portland was supposed be like the 10th best team in the WEST. And they outplayed Golden State for big fat chunks of this series.

Lillard was a maniac, their role players were awesome, and Terry Stotts coached his backside off.

And what did they get for it? The same think General Maximus asked for: “A clean death.”*

To be put down with some respect. And in the final minute, they got their clean death from Steph.

Close your eyes, it’ll all be over in a flash. You won’t feel a thing. Portland deserved that. They earned that.

You know how Houston got put down? Getting the slow, undignified death of a 33-point smothering to end the season. Portland wasn’t going down like that. And they weren’t just happy to be in the second round. They were bent they weren’t getting in the 3rd round.

I have more respect for this team losing in 5 than I have for some teams that win in 4.

I love what I just saw from Portland, and I know we’re going to see more of it. RIP City – get used to it.

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