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.
Indiana's Austin Croshere averaged 8.3 points and 5.4 rebounds for the Pacers this season.
Q: Vince Carter scored 31 points in your first game, but he felt he had a bad day. Is he the Pacer's #1 defensive priority, or is stopping someone else (Jason Kidd, RJ) more important? --Scott
Croshere: Obviously, Vince Carter is a great scoring weapon for their team. You have to try and make him take difficult shots outside his comfort zone, realizing he's still got the ability to make difficult shots. You need to focus on Carter without forgetting about guys like Jefferson, Krstic and Kidd.
Q: I love your game, you being able to play anything from a 2 - 5. So im just wandering if you had your choice of a shooting guard, small forward, power forward or center, which one would you pick to start at? --Cole
Croshere: I think I'm best-suited at power forward. Offensively, I would do fine at small forward but defensively it would be a little bit of a struggle. As a center, offensively I would be able to take advantage of having a slower guy guarding me. Matchup-wise, it might be hard for me depending on the size of the other team's center. So power forward would be my best position.
Q: There's been alot of talk on the players only meeting that you called, and the results it has produced. Last year's focus was to try to win it all for Reggie....what is the game plan this year, and what motivated you to bring it to the attention of the other players? --Neil
Croshere: I think the team meeting came as a result of the frustrations that had built up after losing eight out of nine games. I think everyone was really disappointed with the way we were playing. It was time something was said. A number of the veteran players spoke up during that meeting, and we just decided to start doing things the right way, to be happy for each other as teammates and to get everybody on the same page.
Q: Hey Austin you guys had a great Game 1 and I hope you guys
keep it up and i was wondering if u were a little scared or nervous on
that last shot by Richard Jefferson? --B Dawg
Croshere: You know, with all the great offensive players they have that they were going to get off a good shot. He definitely had a good luck at the basket but Fred did a great job of contesting the shot and fortunately, it was a little bit off.
Q: It seems like nobody ever picks the Pacers to win in the
playoffs. All these commentators and analysts on TNT keep talking like the Pacers can't be successful. Does that really give you guys more motivation to prove everyone wrong, or does it not really matter what all these people say? --Zach
Croshere: Absolutely, it could be a motivating factor for you. We've had our ups and downs this year as a team so a lot of the national media have written us off. But we feel like we've turned the corner late in the season and are doing things the right way. Nobody's ever doubted our talent. Now, I think we've got a combination of things going in the right direction.
Q: The team seems to have regained the passion that is needed to
succeed in the NBA. Do you think that the Pacers will continue to play
with this fire and give everyone a good run? --Carty
Croshere: We did the hard part, which was getting a win on the road. Now we're at home where our fans are going to give us a big lift. I think that, combined with our newfound confidence, is going to produce great results.
Q: Can you tell me what the general feeling is this year on the team? How does it differ this year from year's past in the playoffs? How high is the confidence? --Joshua
Croshere: I think we're playing with a lot of confidence right now. Obviously, we've had our struggles throughout the year and I don't think anybody pretends those didn't exist. But I think it makes us cautious of not going back and playing the way that we did during those times, to avoid the mistakes we made earlier in the season, and to continue on the way we did at the end of the year.