Roy earns third consecutive All-Star selection

Trail Blazers guard Brandon Roy is an NBA All-Star once again. And a season darkened by injuries, setbacks and controversy has become a little brighter for the Blazers.

Roy was selected Thursday by league coaches as a reserve to the 2010 Western Conference All-Star team. The selection marks Roy’s third consecutive All-Star appearance.

“It feels great every time,” Roy said. “It just doesn’t get old.”

By making his third All-Star squad, Roy joins Clyde Drexler (eight), Sidney Wicks (four) and Maurice Lucas (three) as the only players in franchise history to accomplish the feat.

“His numbers are up and his team is winning,” Blazers coach Nate McMillan said Wednesday. “And I think when you have that combination and you’ve been an All-Star, you should be an All-Star again.”

The 6-foot-6, 211-pound Roy is averaging team-highs in points (23.1) and minutes (38.3) this season, and ranks second in assists (5.0).

In addition, he is one of just three players in the NBA averaging at least 23 points, 5 assists and 4.5 rebounds, joining Cleveland’s LeBron James and Miami’s Dwayne Wade.

“He’s absolutely the heart and soul of our team and our organization,” Blazers general manager Kevin Pritchard said. “He epitomizes what you want. You couldn’t script a better player and a better person to fit that role.”

Roy, 25, has carried the injury-depleted Blazers (27-10) all season, while battling his own injuries.

The former Washington standout has missed six of Portland’s last seven games due to a strained right hamstring. He did not travel with the Blazers for their current two-game road trip.

But Roy said his hamstring felt better Thursday than it has ever since he aggravated it Jan. 20 against Philadelphia. He is scheduled to be re-evaluated next Monday, and estimated the earliest he could take the court is that night against Charlotte at the Rose Garden.

“It’s just been hard for me, because I want to be out there with them extremely bad,” Roy said. “And I’m just proud of the way they’re stepping up. They’re not complaining.”

Roy stated that, if healthy, he plans to play in the All-Star contest, which is scheduled for 5 p.m. Feb. 14 at Dallas Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Tex. The game will be televised live on TNT.

“I don’t look to take any games off,” Roy said.

He added: “I definitely want to go out there and play. That’s an experience you just never want to miss.”

Roy has averaged 20.3 points, 5.1 assists and 4.6 rebounds during his first four seasons in the league.

The Seattle native signed a five-year maximum contract extension worth about $80 million with Portland last summer.

The Blazers entered the season with high hopes and higher expectations. But a series of key injuries have presented obstacles, while hurting Portland’s chances to contend for an NBA championship this year.

Thus, Roy has been forced to shoulder the load. And he has almost always delivered, posting career highs in several major statistical categories while keeping the Blazers in the early hunt for a Western Conference playoff berth.

“Those are the things … I know I look at when I make my decision on selecting an All-Star player,” McMillan said.

Roy has led Portland in scoring 25 times, including 19 of his last 23 games.

And he scored a franchise-record 23-plus points during a 15-game run from Dec. 1 to Jan. 2. The All-Star caliber stretch saw the Blazers play without injured centers Greg Oden and Joel Przybilla, who are out for the season following knee surgeries.

“I’m just happy being the Blazers’ No. 1 player,” Roy said.

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