You watch the games, you see the scores, but how do you really know what's going on in NBA Playoffs 2005? 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.
Send the Rockets' Scott Padgett a question via e-mail and we'll post his answers to the best questions at least once for each round of the Playoffs the Rockets reach.
Padgett answered your first round of questions on Monday, May 2:
Q: How do you feel playing with one of the best players in the world in T-Mac?
-- Arnaldo Lozano
Padgett: I feel like I've really been blessed in my career. When I was in Utah I was able to play with two great players in Karl Malone and John Stockton. Then I was able to come to Houston and play with some more great players in Steve Francis, Yao Ming, and Tracy McGrady. Tracy to me is the most exciting player I've ever played with and can takeover a game at any time.
Q: Do you have any playoff rituals, or know of any ridiculous ones of fellow
teammates? Good luck! Thanks for your time.
-- Adam Davis
Padgett: I'm not real superstitious, but I do stick to my same pre game shooting routine every game.
Q: My question is which position is your favorite? Small forward or power
forward? I saw you playing in several different position in previous games.
-- Min Wang
Padgett: I prefer the power forward position because that allows me to spread the defense more.
Q: It seems that just four months ago this team had no identity and no
chemistry and within a few weeks of obtaining [Jon] Barry and [David] Wesley and more
recently [Mike] James the Rockets have evolved into the ultimate "team." Besides these player additions and of course winning, what has contributed to at least the outward appearance that everyone on this team is great friends on and off the court?
-- Andrew Smith
Padgett: I think with the additions we made our team became better defensively on the perimeter, we take care of the ball better, and we have surrounded Tracy and Yao with good three-point shooting. Most importantly though, I think everyone understands their roles better.
Q: I am a big Rockets fan and I have always wondered what coach [Jeff] Van Gundy says when he is giving y'all a pep talk?? I'm sure it depends on the team but
does he have one thing that he keeps repeating for every pep talk?
-- Meredith Diskin
Padgett: Coach is great at game preparation and every speech he gives us is very thought out. His speeches differ depending on opponent or how good or bad we are playing.
Q: I am Ben and I live in South Africa. I am from Houston and have always been a rockets fan, since I was born. My dad is Nigerian and since Hakeem [Olajuwon] was as well I was always fascinated by the Rockets. I wish y'all the best of luck this postseason. Win this for Houston. I just want to know what it is like playing in the NBA. What is the life like and what did it take for you to make it to the NBA? How many hours of work did you put in per day on your basketball?
-- Ben Carpenter
Padgett: Life in the NBA is very good financially, but very demanding. There are many duties we have that go beyond practice and games. When I was growing up I played all the time all year round. I had a goal in my backyard with a big spotlight and I would play until 1 in the morning regularly. I feel that my hard work over the years is what got me to this point.
Q: What is the team's strategy on guarding Dirk Nowitzki?
-- Don Suttajit
Padgett: Without giving to much away, our goal is to make him work hard for every point he gets. He is a great player so you're not going to stop him, but you want to make it difficult for him.
Q: How would you differentiate your current playoff experience from your
-- Ian Roxas
Padgett: I think the difference between this year and every other year I've been in the playoffs is that in past years we hoped we could win. This year we know we can win.