Charles Barkley has become well known for his hot takes in the TNT studio and he unleashed another one Monday night drawing the ire of Cleveland Cavaliers fans anticipating a fourth straight NBA Finals appearance this spring.
Before the Cavs faced off against the Golden State Warriors, the Round Mound of Rebound let it be known that he does not see LeBron James getting to an eighth straight NBA Finals.
“The Cleveland Cavaliers are not going to make it to the Finals,” Barkley said during TNT’s “Inside the NBA” pregame show on Monday night.
Barkley cited the off-court distractions the Cavaliers face, such as the impending free agencies of James and Isaiah Thomas, as well the possibility of Tristan Thompson being traded.
This isn’t the first time Barkley has been critical of the Cavaliers, either.
In 2017, he claimed that the Cavs didn’t “respect the game” after allowing an undermanned Indiana Pacers team to compete with them in a first-round playoff series. He’s also been critical of Cleveland’s age this season, saying they are too old and slow to compete with the Warriors and Houston Rockets.
Barkley isn’t completely wrong about the Cavaliers chances of making the Finals. They currently boast the league’s second-worst defensive rating (109.3), in front of only the Sacramento Kings, according to NBA.com. One other team has made it to the NBA Finals ranking in the bottom 10 in defensive rating, and that was the 2015 Cavaliers that lost to Golden State in the NBA Finals.
The Cavs currently are third in the East (26-16) and sit 7 1/2 games behind the Boston Celtics for the best record in the conference.
Thumbnail photo via David Butler II/USA TODAY Sports Images
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