TNT analyst Charles Barkley is known for his candid banter and off the wall comments, but Thursday night after the Miami Heat lost yet another road game Barkley admitted that he felt two eastern conference teams posed a threat to the defending champions; the Indiana Pacers and the Chicago Bulls.
“Indiana and Chicago,” he said, “because they have inside game with a bunch of perimeter players. You have to hammer them on the offensive boards. That’s their Achilles heel.”
“You have to beat the Miami Heat up physically.”
Barkley might say a lot of outlandish, politically incorrect things, but this time he might actually be on to something. The Heat lost to the Pacers earlier this week and lost to the Bulls last week. They have struggled against the frontline of both teams.
With Miami not having a solid big man or anyone to provide rim protection it’s hard for them to contain the bigger front courts of both Indiana and Chicago. Both teams have the size and quickness to pound the glass and beat the Heat on the boards.
Granted Roy Hibbert would have to get his head out of the sand and play better if the Pacers have any hope of beating the Heat (if they were to meet in the playoffs) but the fact is with their size they’d have a chance. As for the Bulls their frontline of Carlos Boozer and Joakim Noah, as well as Taj Gibson also poses a threat for Miami. Their size, their active hands around the rim, and ability to control the boards is something the Heat can’t contain.
Can either team realistically knock off the defending champs? Who knows. But what we do know is both teams have a fighting chance.