Portland Trail Blazers forward LaMarcus Aldridge joined ESPN's Jim Rome Is Burning on Thursday for a quick interview, his second in the first three weeks of the season. Given guard Raymond Felton's early season performance, there's no question that Rome has done more than anyone so far this season to help set up Aldridge for a 2012 All-Star appearance.
Video of the appearance in the FanShots thanks to thefiestysoldier. Here's a transcript.
Why the recent struggles?
"Just not playing well on the road right now. We feel like our energy level is definitely better at home. Guys aren't shooting the ball as well on the road. We have to figure it out. Guys have to figure out how to get comfortable on the road and find a pretty good rhythm."
Concerned by the losses?
"Definitely. People always say, 'Oh, we have time.' But we don't. You never want to fall below .500 so we definitely want to figure this out tomorrow night."
"It's tough. I think last game I was trying to push myself to go harder but I didn't have anything left in the tank to go. It's definitely challenging but that's why you have so many guys on the team. The bench can come in and carry their load, give you their uplift. Guys have to dig deep and play through it."
You rallied the guys at halftime of the win over New Orleans. What did you say?
"Let's play, Let's play for each other. Let's stop thinking so much. I thought our guys are out there thinking about missing shots, second-guessing passes, second-guessing taking shots. Let's just go out, play for each other, play smart. I felt like in the first half we didn't play smart, we didn't play together, so I felt like in that third quarter I wanted to talk to everybody and just tell them to play more confident."
Would you have done that last year?
"I would have just sat back and let things continue to go bad. But I think I'm slowly getting out of my shell. I'm talking more. That's something I have to do. It definitely paid off that game. I should have done it last game [against the Atlanta Hawks] but I was trying to figure out what was going wrong. We had the one point lead in the fourth and then we were down five or six. I was trying to figure out what was going wrong."
How different is your role now that you transitioned from Robin to Batman with no Brandon Roy?
"Very different. Most of the time, if we lose it's on my shoulders. I'm the first one to blame. I think my teammates look to me to lead them and guide them when things aren't going right. You're the person that has to figure out how to fix it. I think that's the part I'm growing in. Learning how to be good in those bad moments. I think that's what a Batman has to do. He has to be big in those moments, he has to lead, he has to get on guys that aren't doing the right thing."
Difference between being option No. 2 to being The Man
"It is. It is. You have to bring it every night. You have to deliver every night. If I'm not feeling it or I'm not delivering then we have a hard time winning. When you're The Man you're counted on night in and night out to bring what you have to the table. If you don't bring it, your team struggles. We base so much off my post play and my pick and rolls. If I'm not bringing my A-game then it's going to be hard for us to win."
Playing with Raymond Felton vs. playing with Andre Miller
"I think the main thing is speed. I felt like Andre was let's take our time, let's get something slow going to the basket, let's get a real good shot. Ray is so fast that he puts the pressure on the defense. He kind of makes us play a little bit faster as Nate wants us to. I think they're different in speed. I think myself, I'm still getting better. Ray is still getting better. Andre has been around the league for so long that he gets it and has been through everything. But Ray is a great point guard and we're still learning each other and I think he's still learning our system."
Here' a link to a transcript of Aldridge's earlier appearance on Rome's radio show.
-- Ben Golliver | email@example.com | Twitter