"I'm 22 years-old now," said star forward Kevin Durant. "I might only be back in the playoffs 13 or 14 more times. We definitely feel the pressure to win it all."
While Durant and star point guard Russell Westbrook are 22, and starting power forward Serge Ibaka is just 21, many of their teammates are much older. Starting center Kendrick Perkins is 26. Starting shooting guard Thabo Sefolosha is also 26. Sixth man James Harden is also well, he's just 21. But he looks much older.
"Kevin and Russell and some of those other guys are fairly young, but I'll be 30 in four years," said Sefolosha. "I may only have 10 years left in the league. And I could have less on this team, as it's likely they'll soon replace me with someone who is much better than me and 14. So I want to win now."
He shouldn't have hit him. He should have kicked him. This is soccer.
In the guy's defense, his wheelchair was drunk.
The Canadiens won Game 6 to tie the series, but even the players in the arena say they noticed a distinct Game 5 atmosphere.
"We were talking about it on the bench throughout the whole game," said Montreal wing Mike Cammalleri. "It felt very Game 5-y. A few guys felt it had a Game 4 atmosphere at the beginning and one of my teammates, who shall remain nameless, said it felt like a Game 8. But he was hungover. Eventually we all agreed that it was a Game 5 atmosphere."
Bruins defenseman Zdeno Chara agreed.
"You can recognize a Game 6 atmosphere right away, what with all of its Game 6-like attributes," he said. "And this game didn't have it. It had more intensity than a Game 4, but for some reason the atmospheric conditions were not up to a Game 6 level and definitely not a Game 7 level."
The Patriots have three picks in the first 33 slots of this year's draft, but it is not expected they will stand pat there.
"This has been our strategy for the past few years," said head coach Bill Belichick. "We don't see the value in getting a few players with elite talent. Instead, we build depth that delivers outstanding regular season after outstanding regular season."
And New England front office staffers say all the work in recent drafts has set the stage for what they believe will be the master stroke in this year's draft: compiling almost every pick in the 7th, and final, round.
"There's not a lot of difference makers in the 7th Round, but we will have a monopoly on the scrappiest, hardest working, scrappy, scrappers available. And that's Patriots football," said team owner Robert Kraft. "Let the stars go to the other teams. We'll take gutting out a crucial 3rd-and-8 in October, thanks."