After their Game 1 loss against the Phoenix Suns, Charles Barkley gets honest on the Los Angeles Lakers’ playoffs chances.
The Los Angeles Lakers have had the most unexpected season, possibly of all the teams. Entering the 2020-2021 campaign; the defending champs were heavily considered to be the strong favourites to win their second-consecutive title.
Over the course of the season, with injuries sidelining the All-Star duo of LeBron James and Anthony Davis, LAL stumbled down in the standings. The team that was expected to be strong title contenders, managed to barely make the playoffs, clinching the 7th seed in the West.
Unfortunately for the Lakers, they are facing a confident, in-form and young Phoenix Suns team, led by veteran Chris Paul. Looking to be a more determined team, the 2nd seed Suns team managed to defeat Frank Vogel’s side 99-90.
King James’ 18 points, 10 assists and 7 rebounds near triple-double wasn’t enough to spoil Devin Booker’s 34-point night. It was clearly a bad outing for the 2020 champions, who just didn’t look as hungry for the win as the Suns team.
“I don’t think Lakers are the team to beat”: Charles Barkley
Current “NBA on TNT” analyst Charles Barkley is one of the many who doesn’t believe that the Lakers can win their back-to-back title this year. Following Los Angeles’ loss, Chuck further went on to give a brutally honest take on their playoffs chances. Barkley said:
“I’m watching all these idiots, fools and jacka**es on television like ‘oh the Lakers are the team to beat’. I’m like ‘I don’t think that’s true’. This notion that they can just show up and they’re going to win and… Nobody is afraid of them.”
“This (vs Suns) is gonna be an interesting series. Is to me is a pick ’em series. But the Lakers aren’t playing well… Those two guys (James and Davis), gotta play great for the Lakers to win. They can’t put up good numbers.”
“And Anthony Davis, he’s the key. LeBron’s gonna do what LeBron does. But if Anthony Davis is not the second-best like he was last year, in the bubble, like today he was the fourth or the fifth. And if he is not the second-best player, they (Los Angeles) are not going to win.”
Chuck on the Lakers: “Nobody is afraid of them.”
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) May 24, 2021
In all fairness to Chuck, Anthony Davis, who took the blame for the loss, finished with an underwhelming 13-point performance, unable to stop his matchup Deandre Ayton on the defensive end. If the Lakers want to have a deep playoffs performance this year, all the players will have to rise up when required to.
With Phoenix Suns taking a 1-0 advantage at their home, the Lakers will hope to come out strong to level the series in Game 2.