Brandon Roy remembers first preseason game with Blazers

They never include preseason clips in end-of-the-year highlight reels, and preseason stat totals are hardly fuel for bragging rights or post-career anecdotes.
But even though 48-minute contests occurring before the regular season typically disintegrate from our memory banks, they still have the ability to put players’ nerves on hyperdrive — no matter how established they may be.
Brandon Roy needs no reminder of his first preseason game four years ago against Seattle, saying after the Blazers shootaround Tuesday: “I remember like it was yesterday. Coach said ‘You are going to be starting — and you gotta guard Ray Allen.’ Great…I couldn’t think about anything else.”
Roy admitted that same nervousness — which has likely morphed from apprehension to anticipation — still exists when he first takes the court in front of the fans each year.
And according to Blazers coach Nate McMillan, Roy and fellow starters Andre Miller, LaMarcus Aldridge, Nicolas Batum and Jeff Pendergraph (filling in for injured Marcus Camby, who’s out with a groin injury) will play between 25-30 minutes when Portland hosts the Clippers tonight.
McMillan said that Camby’s groin is getting better every day, and when asked if playing without a true center tonight sets the team back, the coach responded like it was just another day with the Blazers.
“It’s what we’ve had to do — adjust to a lot,” McMillan said. “We’re giving an opportunity for Jeff to play a lot of minutes tonight, and you have to make up for it with your speed and hustle.”
Roy’s answer a touch different: “Nah, we think Jeff’s a true center.”
He then laughed.

NBA puts choke hold on fashion:
New NBA rules dictate that coaches must wear a collared shirt on the sidelines — thus ending the league’s turtleneck era. When McMillan was asked how the new law would affect him, he smiled and said that it was put in place with other coaches in mind. However, it was then pointed out that McMillan did, in fact, sport the jacket and turtleneck shortly after his achilles tendon surgery last season, an observation he couldn’t refute.
“You got the boot from the leg and the tie around your throat — too much tightness,” McMillan said.

Johnson not worried…yet:
Tightness is probably an appropriate theme right around now, particularly for rookies still trying to prove themselves. Among those is guard Armon Johnson of Nevada-Reno, who was among the last Blazers to leave the floor after Tuesday’s shoot-around. Johnson if the thought of going up against another NBA team made him particularly anxious. He said it was the opposite.
“If anything, it’s a relief,” Johnson said. “We’ve been playing against each other so much, this will help us a lot.”
Johnson was later asked if he felt any desperation to showcase his skills throughout the preseason.
“I haven’t thought that far ahead…I’m worrying about the team first.”

Sooner or later, the Sooner would return:
The most anticipated debut won’t tonight won’t likely involve anyone in a Blazers jersey tonight. That honor will instead go to Clippers power forward Blake Griffin, the No. 1 pick in the 2009 draft who sat out all of last season due to a knee injury.
While Roy’s focus Tuesday will obviously be on himself and his teammates, he did admit to a modicum of delight toward Griffin’s return.
“I was happy to see that he’s healthy. I’m excited for him. I am excited to see him come back on the court.”

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