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.
Pacers forward Austin Croshere was part of an Indiana franchise that reached its eighth straight postseason. Send Austin 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 Pacers reach.
CONFERENCE SEMIFINALS MAILBOX
Q: Do you have any superstitions before your games?
-- Joey Kinnett
Croshere: I am certainly a creature of habit. I eat breakfast and lunch at the same time before every game. I take a nap at the same time. I try to get to the arena at the same time. I have chicken and pasta for lunch and eggs and chicken for breakfast. Pretty boring.
Q: I was wondering, of all the Pacers players, who would you say that you are the closest to?
-- CJ May
Croshere: Probably Jeff (Foster). Jeff and I have been teammates for six years. We hang out a decent amount. We were in each other's wedding, so we are pretty good friends.
Q: I was wondering how you guys get hyped together as a team before the games.
-- Kim Haynes
Croshere: After warm-ups, we kind of get into a huddle after we get introduced and Scot Pollard leads us in a little chant. Nothing cult like, but just a chant.
Q: I'm from the Indianapolis area and am currently serving in Afghanistan with the US Army. In fact, there is whole brigade of Hoosier National Guard soldiers here. I'm a big fan, but am over here for a year proudly serving my country. It is difficult to catch news of the games. Stars and Stripes is always a day or two behind and we only get BBC radio and Armed Forces Television Network in Kabul. The internet is our best way to gain information, but it is difficult to get on line from here. Would you know what the best internet site to get current information on Pacer games would be? Good luck!
-- LTC Keith Sharples
Croshere: Pacers.com has got the best inside information and personal information on players, management, and those kinds of things.
FIRST ROUND MAILBOX
Q: Hey Austin, my question is what is your most memorable moment as a Pacer off the court and on the court.
-– Andrew Salsbury
Croshere: On the court, it's got to be winning the Eastern Conference championship, the feeling in the locker room in Madison Square Garden after we beat the Knicks in Game 6. Off the court, as a member of the Pacers, sponsoring the Thanksgiving dinner for the homeless the last four years is important to me because it allows me to give back to the community.
Q: Mr. Croshere how are you doing? Knowing how far you guys went last year and reached the eastern conference
finals will that help you guys mentally further in the playoffs with the group of players the pacers have?
-– Billy Jenkins
Croshere: The experience you gain in a series like that, the hurt that you feel from losing something that you put so much effort into, gives you added drive and focus.
Q: Being Reggie's last year and all, do you feel its your obligation or duty to maximize the team effort in order for Reggie to capture his only title? Also, do you see any sign of him coming back next year?
-– Jordan Tyree
Croshere: Reggie would never want us to play for him. He's said that many times. But I think we realize how special the opportunity is to play with somebody like that and you want to extend that as many games as possible. And no, I don't see any sign of him coming back.
Q: This is Richard Lim. I've met you once way back when you were either a rookie or first year for the Pacers when you were helping out at food fest at Carmel High School. It was great seeing you play for the team over the years. I have several questions. What do you view as your role for contribution during the playoffs? What does Coach Rick Carlisle view as your role?
-– Richard Lim
Croshere: I'm a role-player that has an important role on this team. I provide perimeter scoring, stretch the defense to make things easier on our post players and, as with any bench player, to come in and try to change the tempo of the game with energy-type plays, or anything that can help the team.
Q: Austin your my favorite player I came to see both of your games at the Garden this year vs the Knicks, I've noticed you step up in the playoffs each and every year and my question is, what kind of mentality do you go into these games with that you normally wouldnt go into for the regular season games?
-– Larry Fawcett
Croshere: The energy level is just different. You play the entire season to get into the postseason and that's what you work so hard for all summer, all season. That's what it's all about, so you bring everything that you've got and you leave it all on the floor in the playoffs.
Q: Hey Austin, I've been a big fan of yours since you came into the league. How do prepare for each game?
-– Jerryle Palmer
Croshere: With 82 games in a season, you really develop routines. I usually shoot for a half-hour after the morning shootaround. Then I go home, get something to eat and take a nap. I'll wake up and get another quick bite to eat before I head downtown, get taped, then shoot for about a half-hour before the game starts. Then we have our team meeting, and that's it.