I know the schedule says the Trail Blazers have 10 more games, but Friday night sure did feel like the end of the ride for this season.

And although it might be hard to grasp right now, especially with the memory of Friday’s 105-95 loss to Utah which came via an almost comical late game meltdown, it’s important to remember what a surprising ride it has been.

Damian Lillard turned out to not only be the right pick for the Blazers, he had one of the best rookie seasons in recent memory. Nicolas Batum showed he is much more than just a spot-up shooter, once posting two triple-doubles in the span of a week. LaMarcus Aldridge further cemented his claim as one of the NBA’s elite power forwards. Wesley Matthews showed he is more than just a hard-nosed defender, but also a clutch shooter and capable scorer. And even if he didn’t play a lick of defense, JJ Hickson sure did delight with a flurry of rebound and points like few could have predicted.

“We surprised a lot of people,’’ Batum said. “I mean look at us: we are in the playoff race when people expected us to be in the last two spots of the Western Conference. This team will be very exciting for the next few years because we are pretty young.’’