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.
Steve Nash is one of the top point guards in the game and has been a key player in the Mavericks run to the top of the Western Conference. E-mail Steve a question and we'll get his answers to the best ones and post them during first round.
Steve answered your second round of questions on Monday, April 28:
Q: How does it feel to hit the game-deciding 3 pointer in front of such a big crowd?
--Can (Redding, Calif.)
Nash: It is unbelievable. The crowd gives us so much energy and we are able to really feed off of it. Hitting those shots and having the crowd go crazy helps boost our confidence. We love our fans.
Q: From watching countless Mavs games, I've noticed that you seem to have an uncanny knack for making awkward shots. Is this something that you practice (i.e. shooting off balance, on the run, etc.) or does it just come naturally?
--Jon (Kingston, Ontario)
Nash: Growing up in a soccer family I learned some good moves, but I spend a lot of time in practice working on my shots -- from free throws to off-balance shots. The only way a shooter can perfect their shots is through constant practice.
Q: Now that you're up 2-0 on the Blazers, the possibilities of advancing in to the second round are great. How do the Mavericks match up against the Kings in the following round?
Nash: The Kings are a tough team. The Mavs and Kings match up pretty well and play similar games, so if we advance to play them in the second round fans can expect another tough series.
Q: Who was the toughest point guard for you to go up against this season? And who do you enjoy playing against the most?
Nash: The NBA has the best point guards in the world, so it is important that I come ready to play every night. Every point guard in the league has something special about his game that forces me to bring my best game every night. One of the point guards I most enjoy competing against is Gary Payton.
Q: You are incredibly fast, quick and agile. You have amazing moves to get through people. Have you always been that way or have you really worked hard to perfect it?
--Lisa (Summit, N.J.)
Nash: I grew up in a soccer family so some of the moves come more naturally for me, but I work hard to constantly keep improving. Because of my size vs. the size of players I go up against, it forces me to work on other aspects of my game to constantly improve my agility and push my quickness. I learned at a young age to dribble with both hands and that allows me to be more creative when I go against bigger and stronger opponents.
Q: Steve, do you ever get rude comments from the crowd while you're on the bench?
--Walter (Tuscaloosa, Ala.)
Nash: I'm sure they say rude things to me, but I just tune it out and concentrate on playing the game.
Q: Hey Steve, you're an awesome player. I love watching you play. I'm just curious as to why you lick your fingers?
--Brandon (Logan, Utah)
Nash: I lick my fingers because I don't like when my hands get slick. Licking my fingers helps me keep a good grip on the ball.
Q: I read that you're a Radiohead fan. What other bands do you groove to? Any motivational music before games?
Nash: Coldplay is also a great band. They came through Dallas not too long ago and caught a Mavs game. It was during a homestand so I was able to see them play here in Dallas the next night.
Steve answered your first round of questions on Monday, April 21:
Q: How important is the crowd atmosphere when playing at American Airlines? By the looks of it on TV, the crowd seems to drive the pace of the game. Would you agree?
--Justin (Las Vegas)
Nash: Yes I would agree. The louder the crowd is the more energized we are as a team and it shows in our play.
Q: In the playoffs, what type of obstacles does your team face? And being the point guard, the so-called coach on the court, how would you overcome these obstacles?
--Jono (Jakarta, Indonesia)
Nash: Being aggressive and playing defense and making sure everyone is doing what they're supposed to on the court. Even if we're shooting well we need to make sure we don't relax on defense.
Q: We all saw that Dirk had a monster game in Game 1. But after Game 1, what goals do you have for Game 2?
--Arjun, (Denton, Texas)
Nash: For everyone to get on an equal playing field. We're capable of a lot more and we all need to contribute so one guy doesn't have to carry us.
Q: What do you think about the performance by Dirk Nowitzki and will he able to repeat this performance? How did you manage to stop the Blazers after
the big lead in the third quarter and how were you manage to do a really big comeback?
--Bostjan (Kranj, Slovenia)
Nash: Dirk is always capable because he is a talented player, but it is hard to do repeatedly against a team as aggressive as Portland. We came out after halftime with a more physical mindset. We continued to push the ball into the paint and not let up. We have the talent to make our shots and as long as we keep our confidence on defense and step up and play a physical game we're never "out" of any game.