HOUSTON — So, Charles Barkley, what do you think about the Clippers now after watching them lose to the Miami Heat on Thursday night?
“The Clippers are softer than tissue paper,” Barkley, TNT’s NBA analyst, said.
Granted, the Clippers did lose to the two-time NBA champion Heat. But Barkley is convinced the Clippers aren’t tough enough.
“They’ve got the toughness of a flea and the toughest guy on their team is 5-7,” said Barkley, referring to Chris Paul, who is actually listed at 6 feet. “They are soft and they’re only going to go as far as Blake [Griffin] and DeAndre [Jordan] take them.”
Barkley wasn’t done.
Numerous basketball pundits have said the Clippers are a championship-caliber team because Doc Rivers is their coach, Paul is one of the NBA’s best point guards and because their roster is loaded with talent.
What does Barkley think about the Clippers’ chances of winning an NBA title this season?
“The Clippers can’t win a championship,” Barkley said on the telecast. “I know that already after [six] games. They don’t have a half-court game. Miami took the ball out of Chris Paul’s hands and [the Clippers] had no idea how to get a basket.”
The Clippers, who didn’t practice Friday, just want to win a game on this trip.
They lost in Orlando and in Miami on consecutive nights and they will finish this trip by playing the Houston Rockets on Saturday night at the Toyota Center.
The Clippers have been together for a month of training camp, eight exhibition games and two weeks of regular-season games.
But Rivers, who is in his first season with the team, said there is still so much he has to learn about his players.
It’s easier for players to learn about a new coach because “I’m the same guy that they hear every day,” Rivers said. “I think it’s tougher for the coach because he has to learn [about] everybody.”
He’s still trying to learn his players’ likes and dislikes on the court, how he can best utilize their talents and about his players’ mental makeup.
“There is a learning curve,” Griffin said.
Jared Dudley has tendinitis in his right knee, but said he will play against the Rockets. Matt Barnes sat out the last two games with a bruised right thigh. Rivers said he didn’t think Barnes would suit up against the Rockets.