You watch the games, you see the scores, but how do you really know what's going on in the NBA Playoffs 2003? NBA.com has infiltrated the action with the ultimate insiders -- the players themselves. We're giving you an exclusive look at the postseason with a roster of player mailboxes.
Robert Horry has won five NBA championships, two with Houston and the last three with the Lakers.
Robert answered your second round of questions on Thursday, May 1:
Q: I noticed in Game 5 that you started to hit a lot of shots and really get into a ‘groove.’ It seems like you were a bit rusty in the first few games. Did you have trouble loosening up, and how do you feel now? You looked pretty good in Game 5.
--James (Los Angeles)
Horry: I don’t have a problem loosening up. It was just one of those situations where your shot isn’t falling for you and the fact was that I wasn’t taking a lot of shots where you can get your confidence going. In Game 5 I took more shots and after I took more shots I got a better rhythm in me. That’s when the shots started falling.
Q: A lot of people, me included, like seeing you with the ball near the end of close games. Who would be your favorite “go-to” player in a similar situation?
--San Jose, Calif.)
Horry: If he was still playing, I think it would be Bird. Bird was a very clutch player. I also like Jordan and of course you know Reggie Miller. But I think those three guys would be my top three guys when it comes to wanting the ball down the stretch.
Q: Hi, Robert. I was wondering if after winning 5 championships the excitement is still there like it was the first time? I can't imagine the thrill ever going away!
Horry: No, the thrill never goes away. You want to go out and win championships as much as possible because even though you’re not considered one of the elite players in the league, you can be considered one of the winningest players in the league. A lot of guys are great players or all-star hall-of-famers and all that kind of stuff but they don’t win championships. So with me not being in that category like those guys, to win five championships and be in contention to win the sixth one is a positive and a plus.
Q: Hey Robert, I remember you in Houston when you were a big part of the championships, in fact killing the Lakers with your three’s on the way. Now, is it easier or harder to play with Kobe and Shaq compared to Hakeem. And what is the major difference?
--Steve (Melbourne, Fla.)
Horry: It’s about the same. My role is basically the same. You do little spot up things here and there and play good D. It’s probably a little bit easier on this team because on our team in Houston we really had just one go-to player in ‘Dream.’ Here we have two go-to players and they focus on those guys more than they focus on the rest of us so we’re able to get better shots off on the Lakers.
Q: How do you guys as a team take the energy from this 30-point win to Thursday night? Do you feel this was a reminder message to Minnesota, and especially Garnett, that it's never over when you're playing the 3-time defending champions?
--MistiLynn (Riverside, Calif.)
Horry: It’s never over, especially when you’re playing champions. Like Rudy T said when I was in Houston, ‘Never underestimate the heart of a champion.’ You have to go out and play hard and I think when we see a chance to close somebody out, we have that killer instinct, especially with the fact that we’re going to be at home in front of our home crowd. They’re going to be behind us wanting us to close it out and move onto the next round. We’re going to be focused and just have to come out with a lot of energy.
Robert answered your first round of questions on Thursday, April 24:
Q: The team looks focused, ready and poised for another championship. How do you keep your cool during the postseason?
--Charlene (Los Angeles)
Horry: You know the importance of the postseason so you go out and do the things you need to do. To get the game accomplished, you have to stay cool. Sometimes you have guys that will try and agitate you because they know they’re less important for their team than you are for your team. So you just keep your cool because you know the importance of the game.
Q: Hey Robert, I’m actually your biggest fan in the world and I would like to know if you mind coming off the bench?
--Christoph (Rinteln, Germany)
Horry: Coming off the bench is cool because I actually don’t burn off that much energy. You have more energy left for the end of the game. We have great players that play in front of me so it doesn’t matter if I start or come off the bench. Coming off the bench is good because you get to see how the person you’re going to be guarding is playing so that’s probably a plus for me.
Q: I’m 18 years old and of all of the basketball players I have seen play, you’re the guy I want with the ball behind the arc when a playoff game is on the line. When you were growing up, who did you see as the best clutch shooter?
--Asaf (Los Angeles)
Horry: Actually, I never really paid any attention. But as you’re coming along and you start watching basketball, you probably go through guys like Larry Bird, Michael Jordan and Reggie Miller. I never really paid any attention, I just knew a lot of guys liked to shoot the ball at the end of the game from Isiah Thomas to all the superstars, all the clutch players.
Q: Robert, thanks for taking time during your busy postseason run at another championship to field questions. How do you elevate your physical and mental attitude during this time of the year, when stakes are highest?
Horry: I just try to keep my body right, my mind right. You lessen the activity off the court. You don’t go out as much, you eat dinner at home mainly to try and stay out of harm's way and just try to get as much rest as possible. You lift weights, but don’t lift them heavy, lift them light so you won’t get too sore. You just do the basic things but your outside life is pretty much shut down.
Q: Do you ever notice the growing throng of Lakers fans in various arenas throughout the country? Does it help the team on road games to see loyal fans wherever you go?
--Matt (Salt Lake City)
Horry: It’s funny because some times you go in and see a lot more fans than normal, you know, like when we go into Utah for example, we have a lot of Lakers fans there, which you wouldn’t think. But everywhere you go, it’s great to see your fans because of every night you need a little support when you’re down. Like for instance when we were in Memphis, we had half the arena full of Lakers fans and when we were down by 20 they helped us to come back.