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Video: Charles Barkley Delivers Stern Warning to LeBron and Cavs About Celtics

Kenny Smith and Charles Barkley

The seeming lack of concern shown by Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James about his team’s situation following Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Finals against the Boston Celtics caught the attention of TNT commentator Charles Barkley. On Monday night, Barkley offered a stern warning that suggested James needed to reassess that mindset.

These remarks from James after the Cavaliers’ 108-83 loss on Sunday were what sparked Barkley’s furor:

“I have zero level of concern at this stage,” James said. “You get better throughout the series. I’ve been down 0-1. I’ve been down 0-2. I’ve been down before. We have another opportunity to be better Tuesday.

“Game 1 has always been a feel-out game for me. I got a sense of how they are going to play me and I can make some changes going into Game 2. We’ll see ways we can be better and get our offense into a better rhythm.”

James’ former teammate, Shaquille O’Neal, attempted to offer a rebuttal to Barkley’s comments by noting that the Celtics had only won a single home game, with three more victories necessary to win the series.

The weak performance by the Cavs in Game 1 has been compared to their opening first-round playoff loss to the Indiana Pacers on Apr. 15. In that 98-80 defeat, Cleveland also quickly fell behind by double-digits and was never able to recover. Just as in their loss to the Celtics, the Cavaliers shot miserably from long-range against the Pacers, connecting on just 8-of-34 from beyond the arc.

Three days later, the Cavs bounced back with a 100-97 win. Most notably, James was the central component in that victory, scoring 46 points and grabbing 12 rebounds, while shooting 17-of-24 from the field. Another effort like that on Tuesday night could quickly wash away any lingering whispers about the Cavaliers’ chances in the series.

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