Charles Barkley is waging war with Golden State fans, and he’s losing.
After the eighth-seeded Warriors upset the top-seeded Dallas Mavericks in the series opener, Barkley predicted the Mavs would win next four games to take the series. But after a loss Sunday night to the Warriors, the choking Mavs are on the brink of elimination, trailing the series 3-1. Game 5 is Tuesday night in Dallas.
Anti-Barkley signs were scattered throughout Oracle Arena the last two games. At halftime of Sunday night’s game, Barkley appeared wearing a Dirk Nowitzki jersey and loaded with an arsenal of barbs.
“They declared war on the Chuckster and until you make right by me nothing good will happen to you …I love Baron Davis, Don Nelson, Chris Mullin … but Oakland as a city sucks. (To studio host Ernie Johnson) you like Oakland?”
Johnson: “I love the Bay area.
Barkley: “It’s not an area, I said Oakland. You said San Francisco. Just for the record I don’t like San Francisco, either. You know how bad it is? I like Sacramento better than those two cities.”
Johnson: “Good luck getting that jersey off, it looks like you painted it on.”
After the game, Barkley reiterated his distaste for the Bay Area. “The Bay Area sucks, I would rather stay in Alcatraz than San Francisco or Oakland. But I will admit this about the Warriors, they are fun to watch.”
Added analyst Kenny Smith: “Too little too late, Chuck.”
By the way, Barkley blames the Kings for TNT’s ratings slump this season. In the key demo men 18 to 49, TNT is down 22 percent as compared to last year. “For some reason TNT felt like we had an obligation to show the Sacramento Kings every two weeks,” Barkley told the San Diego Union-Tribune. “Everybody wants to say all these teams are great. That’s not true. A lot of these teams stink.”
NFL sleepfest: I could make it through only a couple of hours of the NFL’s version of C-SPAN, the NFL draft on Saturday. How much of Mel Kiper Jr. can you take? Do teams really need 15 minutes between first-round picks? Some of the best comments were from Tony Kornheiser about overhyped Notre Dame quarterback Brady Quinn, who slipped to the 22nd spot. After a nervous Quinn loosened his tie while waiting to be drafted, Kornheiser predicted he would be naked if he weren’t taken by No. 15. After doing numerous interviews in the holding room while he waited to be drafted, Quinn eventually moved to a private room. Kornheiser noted that was a good move before Quinn became “a car wreck. … You almost want to turn away.”
The best comedy bit was Will Ferrell’s piece with USC lineman propect Ryan Kalil on the NFL Network’s predraft show. Ferrell played “Chuck Berry,” a USC “auxiliary strength and conditioning coach,” who trained Kalil using unconventional methods. The five-minute bit included testimonials about Berry, who wears short, skintight gym shorts, from coach Pete Carroll and former quarterback Matt Leinart. It’s posted on youtube at www.youtube.com/watch?v=MHkAdusbwuA