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.
Chicago's Tyson Chandler averaged 5.3 points and 9.1 rebounds for the Bulls this season.
Q: I would like to know what kind of defense you'll be using against the Heat. Since Shaq is such a powerhouse, will you just let him have his, and shut down the rest of the team instead?? Thanks!
-- Morten Stig, Copenhagen, Denmark
Chandler: It’s always tough guarding Shaq, but what we’re trying to do is to stay between him and the basket. We’re trying to do everything we can to keep him from getting his easy dunks. It’s just a matter of battling him early and hoping to stay out of foul trouble, while hoping he gets in foul trouble.
Q: Which position do you prefer, center or power forward? I think your game is better suited as power forward. I thought you and Curry complemented each other very well last year. I think if the Bulls find a dominant center, you can probably utilize your skills a lot more. Good luck on the playoffs!
-- Conrad, Gilbert, AZ
Chandler: I agree, I think I definitely fit in at the power forward position better. I feel a little out of position when I play the center spot, but sometimes that is what is needed so I’ve got no choice. I definitely miss playing next to a big center like Eddy. Having a big body like his down low to take some of the banging allows me to float around a little bit more than I have this year. It’s not easy to do the dirty work down low.
Q: Congratulations on making the playoffs this year. Two straight years in the playoffs! Compare last year’s playoff team to this year’s.
-- Gary, Rockford, IL
Chandler: I feel like last year’s squad was a little feistier than this year’s. We had a couple more veterans in here last season to help direct us. We’re a different team this year, but we play as hard as any team I’ve been on. Plus, our defense has been good, especially at the end of the year when we needed it the most.”
Q: Tyson, if you had to choose one superhero power, what would it be? -- William, Rockville, MD
Chandler: I’d be as strong as Superman… so I could stop Shaq.
Q: Do you think last year’s playoff experience will help your team this year? What do you think are your chances against the Heat? I’ve seen you block shots and rebound, do you think you can be the best in this category in the future?
-- Vincent, Geneva, IL
Chandler: I really feel that every playoff experience is good for us, no matter what happens. It’s a great learning experience for all of us just to be out on the court playing this time of year. It’s going to help us down the road. I definitely feel like I can be one of the best defenders and shot blockers in the league. It’s one of the things I strive for. I also need to show people next year that I can be a good offensive player.”
Q: I feel that the Bulls have a great chance to win the series, in order for you all to win the series, what do you think are some of the keys to win? -- Tremel, LaGrange, IL
Chandler: We’ve got to slow down the guys we know we need to slow down in Shaq and Dwyane Wade, but we also can’t allow their other guys to come in and have big games against us like Jason Williams did the other night. Antoine Walker had some big games down in Miami, too. If we can slow down their supporting cast, I think we’ll be in good shape.
Q: Growing up as a kid, which NBA team did you want to play for? -- Franklin, Miami, FL
Chandler: It was always the Lakers for me, because they were my hometown team.
Q: I'm looking at the stats and I see that the Bulls are #1 in field goal percentage defense. Who, in your opinion, is the Bulls main catalyst on defense? -- Deven, Evanston, IL
Chandler: I like to think that I am. I feel like I’m the anchor of our defense and when I’m out there and we’re flowing, we’re tough to score on. When I’m blocking shots and in position to defend, we’re in good shape.
Q: The media has covered the story you may miss the birth of your first child for the playoffs. I was just curious, do you have a name picked out yet? -- John, Chicago Heights, IL
Chandler: We do… but we are waiting until we see her until we decide for sure. We have to make sure it fits her. She should be coming any time this week. She was supposed to be here by now but she keeps prolonging it… I guess she just wants everyone to anticipate her arrival that much more. I’m excited though and I’m ready for it.
Q: Do you have any pre-game rituals? Besides black shoes, do the current Bulls have any playoff rituals? Good luck this postseason from a long time Bulls fan. -- Dave, Omaha, NE
Chandler: More than anything, I just sit down and try to be as calm as I can before games. I’m a very energetic guy, so to relax gets my mind straight and it gets me prepared to play. The black shoes in the playoffs have been a tradition around here for awhile, so we wanted to continue it.