Bert Kolde wore a navy-blue suit, a blue button-up shirt and a burgundy tie to the basketball game on Thursday night. Paul Allen's college roommate and chief lieutenant sported a fresh haircut for the occasion. And he's sat in his usual baseline, courtside seat.
This old man is sitting on a chair with a long-stemmed rose and a "RipCity" baseball cap on the seat.
That's how it went.
So, it went: Portland 128, Lakers 119.
I do not know if the Blazers are better than they were a year ago. The bench is looking like a more interesting offensive unit. I do not know if they're a playoff team. On this night, Portland looked better than the Lakers. But what is it that makes it easy for the franchise? Because it's good to have a good time, to have a good time. "LeBron James, and headed into the great unknown.
Bob Whitsitt This week is about having Allen as his owner made his job easier.
"The one thing," Whitsitt said. "I never thought, Will he sell the team?" He had The resources and wanted to commit to winning. "
Now, nobody can be sure what is happening. Damian Lillard score 28 and CJ McCollum add 21
What is the plan, anyway?
It might take months, or a year or two, to become clear. It's a $ 1 billion chip waiting to be cashed in. That uncertainty wants to hang over the head of this franchise until it's settled. But if the organization ends up under new ownership, it wants to be silent to this city first. That's what all around on Thursday. The die-hard fans. The filled arena. Commissioner Adam Silver sitting in the 100-level could not have missed it.
Said Whitsitt: "I'm 99 percent sure (they stay in Portland.) It's a tremendous market
"I can not imagine any scenario where my brain is the Blazers not in Portland."
Through the tunnel, the Blazers' bench, the game operations cards were addressed: "Allen family," and were scooped up in the closing minutes and carted off to the operations center.
The first page of the postscript of his legacy as team owner.
Blazers guard Nik Staus kas scored 24 points, and jumped to the lead in the NBA's Most Improved Player race. LeBron scored 26 in a losing effort. Blazers' fans left McNuggets.
While the core of the Portland roster is pretty much the same, and the same are the same, suddenly we're On a lot of new ground with this franchise, are not we?
For example, it's the 16th straight time the Blazers have beat the Lakers. But when Lillard was asked about that, he said, "I mean, 15 of those are in the past, the one we wanted was tonight."
This is an organization that has been a lot of places. Allen's ownership includes 19 playoff appearances and two trips to the NBA Finals. Is there a 20th playoff appearance ahead? Allen and Whitsitt dared to take it?
"Maybe even beyond that?"
"I was told you could not do it when I went down there," Whitsitt said. "You did it." You can build a championship in Portland … "It's a lot of work and creativity. The job is to get the job done.
"The job is to build a really good team, and that should be the fun."
That's the rally cry on the first night of the franchise's history.