Brand
You watch the games, you see the scores, but how do you really know what's going on in NBA Playoffs 2006? 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.

Elton Brand averaged 24.7 points and 10.0 rebounds for the sixth-seeded Clippers this season.

CONFERENCE SEMIFINALS MAILBOX

Q: How far do you think your team will go in the playoffs?
-- Antoine, Lawndale, CA

Brand: As long as we play an all-around game of basketball then we feel we can compete with any team. So that means we can go pretty far.

Q: How does it feel to face the Phoenix Suns and two-time reigning MVP Steve Nash?
-- Minihotsauce, Ontario, Canada

Brand: The Suns play a different style of basketball. They shoot a lot of perimeter shots and that makes them very different.

Q: Do you think you'll have to play similar to the way the Lakers played in order to beat the Suns? If not, what will be your gameplan?
-- Sushi, San Pedro, CA

Brand: We can't play the way the Lakers played because they lost the series. We'll implement our own plays and the way we play the game.

Q: Who are you worried about on the Phoenix Suns team the most?
-- Josh, Marshall Islands

Brand: Of course the back to back MVP Steve Nash because he leads them out there and he gets his teammates good shots.

Q: Since that you have entered the NBA, how would you define your improvement from the Chicago´s time to your first playoff this year?
-- Ed, Petrópolis, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Brand: My mid range game is better. As a veteran you definitely understand the game more.

Q: What did it take you to make it to the NBA other than hard work and practice?
-- Said Seif, Ontario, Canada

Brand: That's really it. You've got to give your all out there. You don't really need size. My good friend Earl Boykins can attest to that.

Q: I think this season was your best season and that you deserved mvp honors.
-- Anthony

Brand: Thanks for the kind words. I'll keep working hard and maybe next year.

Q: How much do you watch the other series during the playoffs?
-- Koefoed, Svendborg, Denmark

Brand: Not much unless its a team we could be playing next.

Q: Do you feel a bigger weight on your shoulders as you advance through the playoffs?
-- Alex, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

Brand: Yes. Being one of the captains on the team the burden definitely falls on your shoulders. But I enjoy it.

FIRST ROUND MAILBOX

Q: How did it feel to make your first playoff appearance?
-- Jamz, Ontario, Canada

Brand: Amazing. Clipper Nation was in full effect with all of the red shirts in the crowd. And to win the game made it a great night.

Q: Mr. Elton first I want to say GO CLIPPERS! My question is how or what did you do to achieve the goal to be able to play in the NBA?
-- Jake, Rhode Island

Brand: I had to keep myself focused, and work hard. You can never take anything for granted.

Q: Everybody thinks in Turkey that you are the real MVP. We knew you were good but this season you are magnificent. I want ask you a question. What's the main difference between last season and this season? Is it Sam Cassell?
-- Shaman, Marmara, Turkey

Brand: Yes, Sam Cassell is a big difference. Cuttino also makes a big difference. The improvement of Chris Kaman, Quinton Ross and Corey Maggette as well as having another year under our belts under Coach Dunleavy is also important.

Q: Hello, my question is when did you start playing basketball?
-- Marcus, Sweden

Brand: When I was six I remember playing. I was so bad I couldn't hit the rim. But it was fun and I kept trying until I got better.

Q: Hey Elton, what player in the NBA trash talks the most?
-- Miles, Tokyo, Japan

Brand: Sam Cassell. He even trash talks to us, but in a good way.

Q: As a loyal fan in section 215 row 12, I was just wondering, when you are at the free throw line shooting two and the fans are yelling MVP, does this distract you?
-- Phil, Tarzana, CA

Brand: Yes it does. But it makes me want to make the free throws even more when I hear the chants at the line.

Q: Can you tell me how did you train in your early years?
-- Henry, Luneburg, Germany

Brand: Work on dribbling with both hands. Shooting is also important to work on. If you are a good shooter you can always produce something on the court.

Q: I would like to know if you were nervous during the tip-off for the first game? How did you handle it and play it as just any other game?
-- Sam, Sydney, Australia

Brand: I just tried to play like any other intense game. I was excited more than nervous.

Q: I'm a 46 year old 'weekend athlete' who has directed children's programs for 20 years. While I am going through financial struggles, I never regret for a minute the decision to impact children's lives in a positive way. You embody what a professional athlete should be by your attitude and work ethic. You are a wonderful role model for all the youth watching you. All the best to you in the playoffs.
-- Mark, Phoenix, AZ

Brand: Thanks, Mark. I try to be the best person I can be on and off the court. I try to lead in a positive way for the children, just like you do.

Q: If you make the conference finals, which team would you rather be playing between Dallas and San Antonio?
-- Ahmad, Herndon, VA

Brand: We just want to get to the Conference Finals. Both of those teams have been great all year and we've played both of them pretty well.