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Playoffs Mailbox: Bonzi Wells

You watch the games, you see the scores, but how do you really know what's going on in the NBA Playoffs 2003? 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.

Bonzi Wells is the second-leading scorer on a talented Blazers team with 15.1 points per game.

Bonzi answered your second round of questions on Monday, April 28:

Q: After putting up such a brilliant performance in Game 2 only to watch your team fall short, what kind of emotions did you go through after the game?
--Olo (Portland, Ore.)

Wells: No matter how hard one person tries, it all comes down to team. And it's always hard to lose, no matter how much effort one person gives. It was a tough loss in general, but I think the fact that I played my best made it a little easier.

Q: You had a career-best 45 points, but on the other hand the Blazers shot poorly from the free throw line. Do you think free throws cost you guys the game or was it the unconscious shooting of Dallas in the fourth quarter?
--Brent (Portland, Ore.)

Wells: Free throws definitely cost us the game. When you miss eight or nine shots and you only lose a game by a few points, it makes a big difference. We just realize that we need to play harder and step up our defense.

Q: Mr. Wells: Way to light it up with your career high on Wednesday. How much of a lift will it be to get back to the Rose Garden for Game 3?
--Dick (Boise, Idaho)

Wells: It's always better to play at home. We need all of our fans to come support us, and we need to play hard as a team all 48 minutes.

Q: Now that you're down 2-0, what will be your mental preparations for the rest of the series? Are there going ro be some changes in the starting lineup?
--King (Manila, Philippines)

Wells: I don't know about changes in lineup, but we're making some adjustments on plays. We need to protect our home court and I think we'll adjust as needed.

Q: HUGE game man! Too bad we didn't beat Dallas. I just wanted to ask you who is the toughest player to defend in practice. Thanks!
--Nikos (Athens, Greece)

Wells: I'd have to go with our rookie Qyntel Woods. He's young and energetic and fast. It's really tough to match that much energy every day.

Q: Well, first off, Bonz, I wanna start by saying I'm from Dallas, but I do respect you as a valuable contributor to your team. I was wondering though how you see the Mavericks' Finley as a player and how you go about preparing for his gameplay?
--Hutch (Dallas)

Wells: He's a great player. He's good at the two-guard and plays a consistent game. I think I look at him like any other player, I just have to stay aggressive and play hard.

Q: What's it like playing with Pippen, as opposed to not playing with him in the starting lineup? How do you adjust your game?
--Terry (Seattle)

Wells: It's definitely different with Pippen at the point. Scottie gets plays set up and likes to play a half-court game. He'll bring the tempo down and keep us focused. With Damon starting, the calls are a little different, the pace is faster, but it's still all good.


Bonzi answered your first round of questions on Tuesday, April 22:

Q: Out of Dallas's Big Three, which is your team worried about the most: Nash, Nowitzki or Finley?
-- Jayce (Wylie, Texas)

Wells: Definitely Dirk after his last big scoring effort. He'll be the main focus, but we can't lose sight of the other two guys. If we do that, it will hurt us.

Q: Bonzi, first of all I just wanted to say you're my favorite player of all-time, man. I got your rookie card and everything. My question is, this year I noticed you started putting up some nice assist numbers -- have you changed your game in any way to drop those kind of digits?
-- Jamaal (Seattle)

Wells: Hey thanks, man! I've concentrated more on passing the ball and getting it to my teammates. That seems to have helped.

Q: How do you feel the Blazers will match up with the Mavs in Game 2?
-- Scott (Baltimore)

Wells: I think we'll be fine once we figure a way to stop Dirk. You can't let one guy stop your whole team. I think we can beat this team, we just need to get in there and do it.

Q: How do you mentally prepare for games and for the playoffs? How has this changed since when you came into the league?
-- K.P. (Tokyo)

Wells: I try to get mentally prepared first. I say my prayers and then focus on the game. I try to focus mostly on the guy I'm guarding and let nothing else in. I don't think much has changed since I came into the league except that I can focus better now.