Skip to main content

Charles Barkley On The Lakers' Playoffs Chances: "If The Lakers Play Utah, They Are Going To Lose. I Hate To Say This, It’s A Much Easier Match-Up For Them To Play The Phoenix Suns."

(via Silver Screen and Roll)

(via Silver Screen and Roll)

When healthy, there's no doubt that the Los Angeles Lakers are the team to beat in the Western Conference. They're deep, have a great defensive unit, and the best duo in the NBA in LeBron James and Anthony Davis.

Then again, the purple-and-gold have struggled with injuries for most of the season, and even though they're healthy right now, there could still be some rust for all the missed time.

That, combined with LeBron's historical struggles in Utah, and the fact that the Jazz finished the season with the best record in the league, has Charles Barkley thinking that the Lakers would be better off losing vs. Golden State in the play-in game to face the Suns as the 8th seed:

“Easy game for the Lakers… If they have to play Utah, they are not going to win. If the Lakers play Utah, they are going to lose. I hate to say this, it’s a much easier match-up for them to play the Phoenix Suns. That’s why they’re going to win that game. I’m sick of this Utah Jazz slander. But I’m telling you, the Lakers could not beat the Jazz in the first round of the playoffs. They are going to win, so they will play my Phoenix Suns in the first round of the playoffs. They know it is a must-win for the Lakers," Barkley said,

Should the Lakers 'tank' this game to avoid the Jazz, they'd have to beat the Memphis Grizzlies or San Antonio Spurs for the 8th seed, which shouldn't be much of a challenge for them.

Then again, it doesn't make much sense to play another game rather than look to get some rest, and anything could happen in a one-game scenario.

There's no way that the Lakers intentionally lose to the Warriors, but there's no denying that the Suns would be a better matchup for them in terms of personnel than the red-hot Utah Jazz. Either way, they'll have a tough time getting out of the first round.