Stotts: "We accomplished a lot this year."
SAN ANTONIO -- I can't remember being more surprised by a Trail Blazer season. This was just not supposed to happen.
Come on, now, Las Vegas had the over/under on Portland wins this season at 38. And this team finished tied for fourth in the conference and won a first-round playoff series. Yes, it lost in five games to the Spurs in the second round... but really, it IS San Antonio and those guys don't make a habit of dropping series to teams as playoff-green as Portland.
The sad byproduct of success is unrealistic expectations -- and if you glance at my Twitter timeline you'll find plenty of evidence of that. There are people who apparently expected Portland to do better against San Antonio. Some, I think, thought this team was championship material. Well, maybe someday. But the truth is, the Spurs have so much more experience and depth that there was just no way Portland could stand up to the relentless pace.
This was 10 vs. 5 for the most part (bench points Wednesday: San Antonio 36, Portland 7). And 10 players who worked together like a well-oiled machine. You don't get that from a team like Portland with so many players who are new to each other. It takes time to grow this kind of success and Portland is ahead of schedule.
Of course, there's all summer to talk about how this team -- without draft picks and much cap room -- is going to be able to get better next season. And I think it's too soon for that sort of talk. It's time now that Portland fans should be celebrating and appreciating.
This team exceeded expectations and it's too soon to come up with bigger ones. Remember, too, the farther your team advances, the more it hurts to lose. And I have no doubt there are plenty of basketball fans hurting in Portland right now.
That will go away quickly, though. And what will remain will be the memory of a very, very fun season. A season that shocked the city and most of the NBA world.
Congratulations, Trail Blazers, that was a blast.