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.
Cleveland's Drew Gooden averaged 10.7 points and 8.4 rebounds for the Cavs this season.
CONFERENCE SEMIFINALS MAILBOX
Q: How does your team bounce back to such a big game 1 loss to Detroit?
-- Tim, San Francisco, CA
Gooden: I think we knew our backs were against the wall and we were going to fight. And we had to home games and the pressure was suddenly on the Pistons to get a win and we didnít allow them to.
Q: You are one of the great offensive rebounders in the league today. What is your strategy to consistently get boards?
-- Sondizzle, Hayward, CA
Gooden: I think itís the knack and the passion of wanting the ball. I donít get too many plays called for me offensively, so I think the way of getting the ball is to get it off the rim.
Q: Being in the second round of the playoffs, do you see a big difference in the intensity level versus the regular season? Is it more fast-paced or the same tempo?
-- Laquetha, Euclid, OH
Gooden: I think it is a higher-intensity type of game. Itís more emotional than anything. Itís an emotional rollercoaster, going game-by-game, especially in the second round. And later if you advance. I think Iím playing well with the minutes that Iím receiving. Any minutes that I get out there, all I know is that Iím going to go hard.
Q: Who do you look up to most in your life (family, relatives, other
-- Amy Jean, Apple Valley, MN
Gooden: For one, I look up to my father. And other basketball players and guys in other sports Ė guys like Ken Griffey Jr., Grant Hill, Michael Jordan and players like that.
Q: Whats your favorite music? Do you like to listen to music before a game?
-- Ash, Melbourne, Australia
Gooden: Yes, I like music before games. My favorite music is rap music. And one of the CDs that I listen to is Tupac Ė ďAll Eyes on Me.Ē
FIRST ROUND MAILBOX
Q: Who was your favorite basketball player growing up?
-- Kevin, Cleveland, OH
Drew: Iíd have to say Grant Hill.
Q: Do you have any pre-game rituals? What are they?
Drew: I sit in a hot tub to get my body loose. And I like to run the length of the court before the opening tip and kind of talk to myself. But I canít say what Iím talking about. Itís like Karl Malone at the free throw line.
Q: What is your favorite food and do you have favorites during the basketball season and then others you can eat when not in season?
-- Elizabeth, Akron, OH
Drew: My favorite food is definitely Italian food. The food I try to stay away from during the season is soul food, because the problem is I like it more than Italian food.
Q: How did you feel when you was drafted? Was it the moment you had waited for all your life?
-- Jorden, Gelderland, Netherlands
Drew: All the way up until I got my name called, it was like a blur. I donít even remember walking up the stairs and shaking David Sternís hand. It was kind of like dream; I blacked out and woke up in Memphis.
Q: What team do you think will emerge out of the west to make it to the finals?
-- Kevin Duxbury, MA
Drew: I think itís going to be San Antonio. I know theyíre having a tough series with Sacramento, but I still like them winning it. If not, Iíll have to go with Dallas.
Q: Regardless of what type of rhythm the game has, which "type" of team do you prefer to be on the court with? half-cout team or run and gun team.
-- Mike, Cleveland, OH
Drew: I like run-and-gun style but it doesnít matter that much to me. Iím versatile enough to play both ways.
Q: What will you do/have done to try and stop Antwan Jamison in the playoffs?
-- Steve, Manitoba, Canada
Drew: I havenít guarded him individually, but as a team we try to just keep track of where he is at all times. We know he likes to spot up for shots and his game is grabbing offensive rebounds.