Portland Trail Blazers All-Star forward LaMarcus Aldridge was interviewed by Jim Rome of the CBS Sports Network on Monday.
Aldridge discussed the upcoming playoffs, Portland's match-up with the Houston Rockets, and his health.
The two-part interview can be viewed right here.
Ed. Note: Hey guys, please welcome Sagar Trika to Blazersedge. Sagar is a high school student in Beaverton who has been writing about the Blazers for two years now over at Blazers World. He's provided a full transcript here. -- Ben
Here's a full transcript. Questions are bolded and in some cases paraphrased. Answers are word-for-word and in blockquote.
You beat Golden State last night in overtime. How big is it to get a win like that heading in to the postseason and what's that tell you about your team?
It's huge. I think last night was kind of like a playoff basketball atmosphere. Both teams wanted to win. They needed the win. I felt like they made big shots. My team made big shots, so I thought that was great preparation going in to the playoffs. I think it definitely gave us confidence going forward.
You're looking at a first round match-up with Houston. That's a team that you're 1-3 against during the season, and in that one win, you went off: 31 [points] and 25 [rebounds]. Are you going to need that effort on a nightly basis to beat those guys in the post-season?
Definitely. I will have to be playing at a very high level because that team is very deadly. They have a bunch of shooters. They have James Harden, Dwight Howard, so those guys play really well together. [Chandler] Parsons does really well for them, too. I will have to have big games, but I feel like overall, we just got to come in with a really good defensive mindset and some good schemes.
Any concern that, because this is such a young team, that some of your teammates might not know, might be happy to be there, and not really know what they're getting into?
That's definitely one of my concerns of having guys that are younger, just happy to be in the postseason, and I've done that, so every day I stress we're not happy to be in the playoffs. We've competed with some of the top teams in the league, if not all the top teams in the league, so we're going to try and win the series and just keep getting better and keep moving forward. We're definitely not one of those groups that say 'Hey, we made it. Let's be happy about it.' I want to win.
You won 33 games last season. You get over 50 wins this year. That, in and of itself, how proud are you of that accomplishment, and especially doing it in the West?
Big time. I felt like every guy that was here last year came back better, including myself, and I felt like the organization did a great job of bringing different guys in, adding [Robin Lopez], adding Mo Williams and [Dorell Wright] and [Thomas Robinson]. I felt like they brought in some guys that were really good to the pieces that we already had, so I'm very proud of this team. I felt like that's very rare to go from 30 wins to 50+ wins, but I think guys came and locked in from day one.
I had Robin Lopez on my radio program recently. This cat is a beauty. What's it like having cooky Robin Lopez around?
He's fun to watch. You know how some people are just fun to watch and they're just interesting? You never know what he's going to do. He's just fun to watch at times. He's very out-of-the-box. I think he actually fits the Portland mentality of keeping it weird because he's not a normal guy, but he's been great for us offensively and defensively this year.
The team has played so much better since you returned from a back injury. What was it like for you to be out those seven games, especially during a critical stretch?
It was tough because we definitely needed all of those wins. If I played in those games, we could have more wins than now, so that's always a hard thing to deal with. But also, it was kind of good for me to watch and to see how things looked from the outside in, because we lost some close games and I saw some things that I could do better when I came back. I think it was good and bad. I think it was good because I got to see how our team is made up and the things that I should do better.
A back is a tricky thing, and I know you wanted to get back out there as quick as possible. Did you come back even maybe sooner than you should have?
I did. I definitely did. I didn't feel 100 percent, or even 90, but we were dropping games and it was a very crucial time in the season. I definitely came back faster. I think me being back on the floor just helped guys get back in their natural position and just play how they should.
-- Sagar Trika | Twitter