Portland Trail Blazers

Barkley: Trail Blazers will beat LA Lakers if they get into playoffs

Portland Trail Blazers

Charles Barkley is not one to shy away from bold predictions. 

On Thursday night, Barkley had another one when he and the rest of NBA on TNT crew had a conversation able the current playoff picture. 

There are currently a handful of teams on the outside looking in, vying for a chance to potentially play the Grizzlies in a play-in game.

One of those teams is the Portland Trail Blazers.

On the topic of Rip City's favorite basketball team, both Shaquille O'Neal and Barkley gave Portland fans plenty of hope.

Shaq kept it short and sweet, "Portland will get in the playoffs."

The Blazers currently sit in ninth place, 3.5 games behind the eighth-place Grizzlies, tied with the Pelicans and Kings, and a half-game ahead of the Spurs. 

So, Shaq is confident the Blazers will get in. Barkley, on the other hand, he thinks the Blazers will do much more than that.

Said Barkley, "If the Portland Trail Blazers get in the playoffs, they will beat the Los Angeles Lakers in the first round."

Listen to the latest Talkin’ Blazers Podcast with hosts NBA Champion Channing Frye and Emmy Award winner Dan Sheldon:

Barkley had a reason for his belief: Team health. Having both Zach Collins and Jusuf Nurkic back on the court will have a significant impact, especially on the defensive end, for the Trail Blazers. 

If Nurkic and Zach Collins are healthy, you know Dame (Lillard) and CJ (McCollum) are gonna do their thing. They're right up there with Steph (Curry) and Klay (Thompson). Nurkic is terrific. Zach Collins is terrific. Whiteside got something to proves, he's gonna be a free agent... but the Trail Blazers gotta get in first.  - Barkley on the Blazers

 

This isn't the first time Barkley has put his faith in the Blazers. As a guest on ESPN's Get Up last month, Barkley called the Trail Blazers his dark horse. "The one team in the Western Conference, if they get Nurkic back and Zach Collins, nobody is gonna want to see the Portland Trail Blazers." Barkley went as far as to say the Blazers could win the championship.

A healthy Trail Blazers squad will be dangerous for sure. Barkley sees it. Shaq sees it. We're pretty sure the rest of the NBA sees it as well.