Thank you to the Houston Rockets for the most entertaining first-round series in a ridiculously-entertaining first round of the NBA playoffs this year. For challenging the Blazers, for putting out a great product, and for ultimately being a hell of an opponent.
To Kevin McHale - a class act, a legendary player, a great coach;
To Patrick Beverley - a player we hate when he plays against us but who we can appreciate when he's not playing us, and who played through injuries and the flu well enough that we couldn't notice it;
To Jeremy Lin - who resurrected Linsanity for a game and showed enough flashes to worry us during Game 6;
To Terrence Jones - who made his hometown (Portland, of course) proud;
To Daryl Morey - for not seeing the value in T-Rob (haha);
To Dwight Howard - who had some crazy good games this series and remains incredibly dominant when at his best (as thankyouforblaze put it, he "almost single-handedly beat POR in a seven-game series");
To Chandler Parsons - who proved second round picks can be incredibly valuable, and for saying he was better than Batum (and nearly proving it a few games);
To Troy Daniels - for showing kids around the country that if you work really hard at one thing, that one skill can get you anywhere (not that you're bad at other stuff, but damn can he shoot),
To Omer Asik - for your strong defense and making Aldridge work hard for his points after the first couple of games;
A salute to you all.
Houston's a great team - played just as well as us over the season, and took our best blows and gave them right back. I have rarely been this on-the-edge-of-my-seat as this series - the only other one that springs to mind is the Boston-Chicago 2009 series and stuff in the Finals - back and forth, with Houston scoring an aggregate of two more points than Portland across six games and similar stats on FTA, FGM, etc. I'm sure they have more steps in their plan, and Morey is a great GM despite my joke above, so I'm sure they'll remain a force in the West for a few more years at least.
Finally, thanks to the Houston Fans who did a great job coming to BlazersEdge and interacting with us politely and constructively. You guys have been (mostly) great. :)
Kudos to you, thanks for a great year, and see you in 2014-2015!