You came so close to beating the Los Angeles Lakers in the Western Conference Finals in 2002. How tough was it to get over that?
"We thought the next year we would be even better. It just didn't happen for us. You understand how important the situation is."
Do your past playoff failures help prepare you for the present moment?
"Definitely. It's a different mindset. You understand how your career can be really short. You go to the Western Conference Finals, or you go to the second round, and you think next year is going to be better. Those kind of opportunities don't come as often as you like. That's what happens. You have to enjoy the moment, enjoy the situation."
Has that helped shape this Dallas team?
"I think so. We all understand the moment, the arena and that it's a great opportunity for all of us. We're flying high, but a game is a game, so I'm approaching it with great focus and great aggressiveness. It is a good situation to be in right now."
You had playoffs runs playing in small-market towns like Sacramento and New Orleans. Dallas is a big place. Is there any difference in how you're received in smaller towns compared to a place like Dallas?
"When you're on the floor, you don't think that way. It doesn't matter where you play. It's the situation. Every time you are deep in the playoffs, it's a big-time situation and we understand that."
Your recollections of playing in Oklahoma City when you were with the Hornets?
"It was a great place to play. The people were so nice. They made us feel at home under difficult circumstances."
Any familiar faces in the stands still wish you well?
(Smiling) "Oh, no, no, no. They're cheering for another team now."