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February 13, 2014 / Sports / The Brooklyn Nets / Back Court

Charles Barkley blasts the Nets!

for The Brooklyn Paper
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It is time for Brooklyn to show up Sir Charles.

That’s right: Charles Barkley, the reigning king of late-night NBA brogramming™, held forth on the Nets’ recent success, claiming that it was the team’s Eastern Conference competition that made it good, not its players.

“Listen, the Nets stink, man,” Barkley reportedly said during a conference call promoting TNT’s coverage of this weekend’s All-Star events. “They’re beating up on a bunch of ugly chicks in the Eastern Conference. Don’t act like they have a good team, stop it.”

Boom. Gauntlet thrown.

Sure, the Nets’ 13–5 record since the new year started has included a win over the defending champion Miami Heat and a one-point loss to the East-leading Indiana Pacers.

But since that doesn’t matter to Barkley, let’s look at what these new-look Nets have done against teams from the superior Western Conference: a win (and a loss) against the West-leading Oklahoma City Thunder, as well as wins over the Dallas Mavericks and Golden State Warriors, who would make the playoffs if they were held today. That’s ignoring a win against the defending Western Conference champions, San Antonio, since the Spurs were without their stars.

But instead of quibbling over the recent strength of schedule, the Nets have a perfect opportunity to shut up the “Round Mound of Rebound.”

Once this weekend’s All-Star hoopla is over, Brooklyn will head west for its longest road trip of the year.

Up until now, the most games the Nets have played consecutively on the road is three. Starting Feb. 19 in Utah, the upcoming six-game odyssey will provide rare insight into the team’s resolve. It includes a matchup with the third-best team in the Western Conference, the Portland Trail Blazers, who whipped the Nets by 20 here in November.

Barkley’s comments are the kind of bulletin-board material that can light a fire under a team. Hopefully, Nets Coach Jason Kidd can keep them ringing in his players’ ears these next two weeks, motivating his squad to make a statement out West.

Matt Spolar is a nearly 6-foot-1 journalist with a middling high school basketball career who is sure the Nets win thanks to team’s top-tier guards.

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