Like he’s been doing for the last season and a half with the Portland Trail Blazers, Brandon Roy played like a seasoned vet in his All-Star debut. The ’07 Rookie of the Year and this year’s early-season MVP candidate put up 18 points, 9 boards and 5 assists in his first All-Star Game, two nights after helping the Sophomore team (17 pts, 7 asts, 2 stls) blow out the first-year pros in the Rookie Challenge. I got up with Roy right after the West’s 134-128 loss to talk about his All-Star Weekend:
Dime: What did you feel like out there when you realized you were actually playing in the NBA All-Star Game?
Brandon Roy: Everyone’s nervous their first time. I’ve never been through any of this, so from the beginning, just going through introductions and everything I was looking around trying to soak it all up. My first shot I was nervous, but it went in and I was able to relax a little bit.
Dime: You looked a little overwhelmed during the intros and everything before the game, but then in the second half when you came out of the locker room you seemed to be a lot more comfortable.
BR: Yeah. Once you break a sweat, you know, the biggest thing is just to go up and down and once you get in a flow you’ll be alright. Once you make your first shot it takes a lot of pressure off.
Dime: Were you surprised Byron Scott had you out there in crunch-time?
BR: (Laughing) Yeah, man. We were playing and I kept looking back, like, “When is he gonna put Allen Iverson in?” But the vets on the team were like, “Let the young guys play and have fun.” They had no problem letting us play down the stretch, and I think that made Coach Scott stick with us.
Dime: People say the All-Star Game isn’t competitive, but you looked pretty pissed at that late foul call on D-Wade.
BR: It was competitive. He just double-clutched, and I definitely didn’t think I fouled him. But, you know, it’s part of the game. We wanted to win. Walking off the court people were like, “You played a great game,” but I was like, “Yeah, but we lost.” I’m always upset with a loss. But I’m sure once I’m going back home tomorrow I’ll realize how good the experience was.
Dime: What was the most memorable play for you?
BR: Probably my missed dunk. I missed it, but it was exciting and a lot of people enjoyed it.
Dime: At least you won in the Rookie Challenge…
BR: Last year I was disappointed. I mean, we got thrashed last year. We were embarrassed. To be on this side felt a lot better. We did a good job sharing the ball, which I think was the key. We just wanted to play team ball.
Dime: What happened on that play where it looked like you and Sean Williams almost got into it?
BR: We had talked crap before the game about who was gonna get dunked on. I was just like, “I almost had you on ESPN tonight.”
Dime: Is there that much of a physical difference between the Sophomores and the Rookies?
BR: I think we’re more tested. Rookies get to this point and they’ve played 50, 52 games … they wanna rest this weekend. We’re a little more experienced and can play through it. We have a little more energy and we’re a little more physically stronger.
Dime: Obviously the All-Star Game gets intense near the end. But does anyone really play defense in the rookie game?
BR: (Laughing) We play defense. You try to run the floor and get back, stay in front of your man, but you don’t wanna hurt anybody either. I think that’s the worst thing you can do is have somebody get hurt out here. You play hard, but you don’t wanna play too hard where you hurt somebody. I think everybody kinda knows that. Nobody says it, but it’s kind of an unwritten rule.