Q: What is it about the playoffs that creates a different atmosphere?
A: Playoff time for me is the most exciting time of your life. Even since high school, when the weather starts to get warm and things start to heat up, there was excitement all the way around. Postseason play is what it's all about. That is where you really make yourself a player and, as a team, you really learn a lot about yourself and your teammates. Everything that you work for is really displayed at that time of the year. More than anything, I think your mental focus and your aggression picks up. I love to be the type of player who plays the best basketball around that time. Overall it is fun, but it's also very intense and the best part of the year.
Q: What can you guys do to wear down a team in the first round of the playoffs? Some teams look at the Knicks as a thorn.
A: Thorn is probably a good word for what we would be in that situation. I think in a seven-game series, we are always prepared and play tough defense. And we have guys who are capable of putting up numbers. I think the key is, on a consistent basis night in and night out, are we that type of team? That is what has hurt us in the regular season, but in a playoff situation I feel good about our team and what we bring. True, we would really have to wear teams down on the defensive end, but we really need to find ways to search out how we can get good balance on the offensive end.
Q: What has been the main reason that you have shown some success this season despite injuries on the team?
A: I think competing has been the whole thing. Just competing every night, staying disciplined and, in not so many words, that is really the key. What happens, and I heard someone mention this during the Final Four about Utah's emergence, sometimes you can depend so much on one player that a lot of other players don't assert themselves. I think that is what we had. We had capable players, but we weren't really asserting ourselves because we depended so much on Patrick (Ewing). Not to say that we are a better team now because of course we are not. But now players are really asserting themselves more than when Patrick was in the lineup.
Q: How would Patrick's return affect the chemistry on the team if he does come back for the playoffs?
A: We will just have to see. I get the question everyday, but the fact of the matter is that I can't answer that because I can't tell the future. I do know that in the playoffs last year, we had good chemistry. We had Patrick, Larry and me, and all of us were really able to contribute. People kind of forget that because of what happened in the Miami series. We were really headed towards a good playoff before the situation there. If we can get back to the way that we were playing in the playoffs last year when we had good balance, that would be ideal.