The Brooklyn Nets entered the playoffs at full strength, or so it seemed. Needless to say, that made them the frontrunners to come out of the Eastern Conference and make it to the NBA Finals.
Unfortunately, things changed in the blink of an eye, as James Harden hasn't been able to play for most of the playoffs due to a hamstring injury and now Kyrie Irving will miss a pivotal Game 5 due to an ankle injury.
That's why Charles Barkley believes that, should the Bucks lose this series after evening things up at 2 games apiece, this would go down as one of the biggest choke jobs in the history of the Association:
"(It's a) defining moment of this Bucks team," Barkley said. "There's no way - like Shaq said, (...) they don't have the talent to beat this Bucks team. If I'm the Milwaukee Bucks I'll get together and say "Guys, this is our moment. As long as they don't outwork us, they can't beat us, 'cause they can't score no points". If the Milwaukee Bucks lose this series without James Harden for the entire series, now no Kyrie, this will be one of the biggest choke jobs in basketball history. (...) If you can't beat these guys 2 out of 3 times, this will be one of the biggest choke jobs in NBA history."
Barkley has a valid point right there for several reasons. Yes, the Nets are still a deep team with scorers like Blake Griffin and Mike James next to an all-time great like Kevin Durant, but the Bucks already beat them 2 out of 3 times in the regular season with Kyrie also on the team.
Also, it's not like the Bucks don't have a stacked team as well. They have enough weapons to get the job done on both ends of the floor.
And last but not least, this Bucks team has a history of underperforming in the postseason and they just can't allow it to happen again. It's one thing to lose against a 100% healthy Nets team and there's another thing to lose against an injury-depleted roster.