Longtime Blazers beat writer Jason Quick closes the books on an inspirational season for Portland, offering insight on what made this one special:
They had emerged out of a timeout and started out toward the court when they realized the game was still a ways from resuming. So they took a seat along the scorers table near halfcourt.
Nicolas Batum. Robin Lopez. Damian Lillard. LaMarcus Aldridge. And Wesley Matthews.
It would be their final act together, their final stand of the season.
It was such a poignant moment, I felt compelled to take a photo as I sat behind them.
After the game, I showed the photo to each player. Their response reveals more than anything that came out of Wednesday's 104-82 loss in Game 5 that sent the Spurs to the Western Conference finals for the third straight season.
"I was hoping someone got that; I love that picture,'' Lopez said, still staring at the photo. "The important thing is, we were down 18 or 20 and we were still there, together. Instead of splintering, instead of bickering, we were still there together and we were going to go out with pride.''
With arguably the best Starting Five in the League and one of the youngest rosters overall, this club will be heard from again- for years to come.
Besides a ton of talent, the obvious bond this core group shares will be the reason why. ◉