Last month, TNT analyst Charles Barkley stated that he was rolling with Portland to represent the West Conference in the Finals this season.
“I tell you what, I’m all in on the Trail Blazers,” Barkley said.
“I like Portland. I thought before [Jusuf] Nurkic got hurt, they had a chance of winning the West. … I still think so.”
Barkley is also a fan of Portland’s center, Enes Kanter.
“You hear all these guys … talk about Kanter, ‘He’s not a great defender,’” Barkley said. “There’s been really good players in the NBA who weren’t great defenders. That guy is going to get you a double-double every night. All these people talk about what guys can’t do, instead of what they can do.”
Kanter has been some that Blazers in their second-round series against the Denver Nuggets. In game six to force a game seven back in the Mile High City, Kanter had six points, and nabbed 14 rebounds as the Blazers beat the Nuggets 119-108 in Portland.
Charles Barkley has been on the Trailblazers bandwagon for a while now. Back in March, he was interviewed by Heavy’s Brandon “Scoop B“ Robinson.
“Put it on the board, the #Blazers are going to the NBA Finals!” — Charles Barkley pic.twitter.com/Y10jr8M8SV
— NBC Sports Northwest (@NBCSNorthwest) March 8, 2019
“I like Portland in the Finals, With [Damian] Lillard and [CJ] McCollum. The addition of Rodney Hood and Enes Kanter. I like them in the West.”
Barkley’s TNT colleague Kenny Smith also spoke with Robinson and here is what he had to say.
“Charles, he can say something crazy all of the time,” Kenny Smith said.
“I don’t normally say it. I’m just saying, not every day in a seven-game series. I’m talking about just three games: shoot six for ten in between to combat guys shooting four for ten from three-point range. They have it, they have it! So to me, that separates them when they’ve been so close every year to get over the hump, that they can get to the Western Conference Finals and they’re a clear and present agent for the Warriors because the Warriors have had trouble with those two guards even in that set. And even, until this year, Oklahoma had trouble with those two guards; until this year.”
In a recent phone conversation with former Blazer guard Bonzi Wells, I asked him if he agreed with Barkley and Smith that Blazers will be in the finals this season.
“I think they have a great weave going on right now even though they lost game one in Denver and I think they learned a lot from it. I think they will make the proper adjustments, but I can see that,“ said Wells.
He would continue:
“I hope a guy like Enes Kanter can stay healthy because they are kind of light on the big man side of things Nurkic being out, but if Enes stays healthy. If Damian and C.J. continue to play at a high level and the other guys’ chip in like Aminu, Harkless, and those guys come in with the energy I think those guys can make a Finals runs. The way this league is set up it is a make or miss league and it really depends on who is making shots that day.“
The Portland Trailblazers were able to force a game seven behind the scoring of Damian Lillard, CJ McCollum, and Rodney Hood, who combine for 87 of the Trailblazers’ 119 points.
BLAZERS FORCE A GAME 7! 🌹— NBA on ESPN (@ESPNNBA) May 10, 2019
Damian Lillard: 32 pts
CJ McCollum: 30 pts
Rodney Hood: 25 pts pic.twitter.com/gmekMbI9eh