Dame sí, Blazers no

Blazer fans got their hopes down and up and down and up more times than you could count last night, but in the end their team dropped a heartbreaker in double overtime in Denver. Portland is now faced with the task of taking two straight from the Nuggets, which they haven't done so far in a five-game stretch. One more loss in either of the next two games, and the Blazer season is over.

There were subpar performances galore on the Portland side of the ball. C.J. McCollum shot 32 percent, and Carmelo Anthony bombed out at 27 percent. Joe Nurkic fouled out again, and once he sat down with four fouls, you knew that you'd see him for only about three more minutes. It doesn't take much to get his goat. He also committed six turnovers in 24 minutes on the court. Ant Simons shot 2 for 7.

Everybody made mistakes for Portland, and when you lose in double overtime, every one of those mistakes feels as though it decided the outcome. The usual spacey Portland defense allowed someone named Monte Morris (me neither) to go off for 28 points.

But as depressing as the final score was, Blazer fans who tuned in were lucky. They saw history. Portland star Damian Lillard, trying so hard to get his teammates involved, finally had to put the team on his back. And when he did, he went nuts. Dame single-handedly brought Portland back from the dead twice in one night. Lillard ended up with 55 points and 10 assists, and if his fellow Blazers had been shooting worth a damn, he would have had 14 assists to go with all his points and Portland would have won easily.

His 55 points came on just 24 shots. The man was on fire. He just didn't get enough help from his mates.

I guess it's time to start thinking about what the Blazers should do if they lose this first-round series, as now seems more likely than not. After tonight, I'd say that everyone except Lillard is expendable. It's time to give up on Nurkic, Collins, Stotts, and probably McCollum, too, in that order. Melo can retire now. Lillard deserves to be on a better team while he still has legs. The money's fine – he gets $39 million next year – but he is worthy of a much better spot in history than he's heading for at this point. 

If you can't put a better squad around him, you could trade Dame for old guys and draft picks and start "rebuilding" yet again. I'm sure there are some good teams that would love to have him.