During a segment of Inside the NBA before Monday night’s game between the Washington Wizards and the Detroit Pistons, “The round mound of rebound,” as Barkley is often referred to as, spoke of the Cavaliers’ recent struggles and their playoff intentions.
“I think they don’t want to play the Wizards in the second round,” Barkley said confidently.
The Wizards are already locked into the No. 4 seed for the start of this season’s playoffs. While their opponent for the first round is yet to be decided, the Wizards, if they advance, would face the winner of the No. 1 vs No. 8 seed matchup in the second round.
Currently, the Cavs are trailing the Boston Celtics in the Eastern Conference standings by one full game. If the Cavs want to reclaim the No. 1 seed, they’ll need a win on Wednesday against the Toronto Raptors and a Celtics loss tonight. However, it looks like the champs are content with the No. 2 seed.
“I’m not saying I’m right, I’m just giving you my personal opinion,” Barkley added. “Think about this: If they (the Cavs) lose tonight (Monday), more than likely, Boston is going to get the No. 2 seed. All they have to do is stay tied with the Celtics and they get the No. 1 seed and will play the Wizards in the second round.”
“But think about this: After they lost to the Hawks (on Sunday), they are resting LeBron (James), Kyrie (Irving), and Tristan Thompson. It’s a must win for Miami and the Cavs clearly don’t care. It’s my personal opinion that they would rather play the Raptors in the second round. The only team, in my opinion, who think they have the confidence to beat the Cavaliers, is the Wizards.”
To imply that the Cavaliers are leary of facing any team in particular is probably ill-advised, as they are still one of the most formidable teams in the association.