Charles Barkley rips into Celtics: ‘They have the toughness of a flea’


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Down two games to none in the Eastern Conference Finals, the Celtics should have come out with maximum urgency Sunday night in Miami.

Instead, their first-half effort was virtually non-existent as they gave up one open three after another on defense and continued to commit sloppy turnovers on offense.

They allowed Heat role players to torch them, as Caleb Martin, Duncan Robinson and Gabe Vincent all had double-digit points in the first half.

As a result, the Celtics trailed 61-46 at the half, making an already deep hole even deeper. On TNT’s halftime show, Charles Barkley did not hold back.

“I’m embarrassed for the Celtics,” Barkley said. “That display of basketball, no mental toughness, complaining on every single call – now they are getting away with some calls – but they’re gonna make the refs made ’cause they’re complaining on every single call. The lack of mental toughness, it’s embarrassing.

“I was blessed to play against the Lakers and the Celtics, the two best organizations in NBA history. That was an embarrassment for the Celtics. Paul Pierce, [Kevin] Garnett, Larry Bird, M.L. Carr, Kevin McHale, the best players I played against – that was embarrassing as a Celtics fan.”

Barkley came back to their mental toughness again later in the halftime show, once again calling it “embarrassing” while dropping an unflattering comparison.

“They have the toughness of a flea,” he said.

It didn't get any less embarrassing for the Celtics after halftime, as the Heat opened the second half on a 28-10 run to push their lead to 33. The Celtics never mounted anything resembling a comeback, and Miami went on to win 128-102 to take a commanding 3-0 series lead.

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