NBA.com: PLAYOFFS 2003
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Playoffs Mailbox: Peja Stojakovic


Stojakovic
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.

Peja Stojakovic is one of the best shooters in the game and a key player in the Kings' run to the Pacific Division title.

Peja answered your second round of questions on Thursday, May 8:

Q: I guess you're the best 3 point shooter in the league and the Kings have the best passing game in the nba.Do you think these are the two keys for you to reach the Finals?
-- Michael (Forbach, France)

Stojakovic: Definitely. If we play our game then we think we're capable of beating anybody. We also need to focus on our defense, and we'll be fine.


Q: Peja, You know, that you and Vlade are national heros. Everybody likes you in ex-YU(SCG). I would like to know your opinion about who is going to be your biggest obstalce on your trip to the top of the NBA. Do you think that the Lakers are more weak than last year?
-- Ivan (Podgorica, Serbia and Montenegro)

Stojakovic: Well, right now we're not thinking about the Finals. We're playing a tough team in the Mavericks and we're just going to try and get by them. Whoever is left after that, the Lakers or the Spurs, we'll worry about it then.


Q: It seems that the team sometimes slows down as a whole during certain quarters. What do you do to help the team gain the momentum back?
-- Audrey (Sacramento, Calif.)

Stojakovic: I don't think there's anything that I do myself. We have a lot of great basketball players in Chris, Vlade, Mike, and the rest of the guys. We just try to bet back in the flow of the offense and play our game--passing the ball.


Q: Hey Peja, your third quarter run dominated and set the tone for the rest of the game. However, after this series, the Kings have a tough trip against the Mavericks and Lakers/Spurs. How do you expect to maintain your composure and respond to the pressure?
-- Bopu (Sugarland, Texas)

Stojakovic: It helps that we've been through this before, in the last couple of playoffs. We know what we have to do to win and how we have to come out mentally prepared.


Q: I was wondering how many shots a day do you shoot during the season? With being known as one of the best shooters in the NBA, and you requiring double teams and added defensive pressure on you, how has this changed your preparation for the season and playoffs?
-- J.B. (Folsom, Calif.)

Stojakovic: A lot! I try to work on my shot as much as I can, after practice, before practice. I'm not really worried about being double-teamed, because I know that I can give it to one of teammates and they can get the job done.


Q: What do you think about Vlade shaving his trademark beard?
-- Josh (Ostrander, Ohio)

Stojakovic: [Laughing] I think he looks 15 years old! Don't worry, it'll grow back by halftime.


Q: We were in Salt Lake City for Game 3. We had a great time watching the game, and it was fun to be there to cheer on our team. Are the players aware of where the fans are in the crowd? Does it really make a difference to the players to have fans at an away game?
-- Michelle (Folsom, Calif.)

Stojakovic: When you are playing the game, you naturally forget about the crowd, because you are caught up in playing. During timeouts you notice people more. I know at ARCO the fans really make a difference. They are the best fans in the NBA.


Peja answered your first round of questions on Wednesday, April 23:

Q: The team played a great game on Sunday, never gave up when you were behind for that little bit and that makes me proud. How do you feel your chances are of getting to the Finals with how great the team is playing at this point?
-- Rudy (Gridley, Calif.)

Stojakovic: We're confident that we're playing good basketball right now, but we're not worrying about that right now. We're just focused on playing the Jazz, trying to get past them into the second round.


Q: Do you think that home-court advantage is really important?
-- Ugur (Jubail, Saudi Arabia)

Stojakovic: It always good to get a good start at home. Winning these first two games has given us a great advantage going into a tough place like Utah.


Q: Going into this postseason, what have you been doing to mentally prepare for the pressure that awaits you in the next rounds?
-- Sam (Santa Maria, Calif.)

Stojakovic: Nothing different than during a regular season game. We've been practicing and getting focused for what we want to do defensively and offensively. That's about it so far.


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