May 18, 2013; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Indiana Pacers mascot Boomer waves a flag during introductions before game six of the second round of the 2013 NBA Playoffs against the New York Knicks at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. The Pacers won 106-99. Mandatory Credit: Pat Lovell-USA TODAY Sports

Shaq, Barkley Share Opinions about Indiana Pacers

Shaquille O’Neal and Charles Barkley take jabs at each other and bring out all the commentary when the cameras are on the TNT NBA pre-game, halftime and post-game shows.

The TNT NBA studio crew consists of O’Neal, Barkley, Ernie Johnson and Kenny “The Jet” Smith. All but Johnson played professionally in the NBA and understand the game, thus their analysis and opinions are well-respected across the league.

On Monday night, the Indiana Pacers took on the Golden State Warriors at Oracle Arena in the Bay Area. Indiana led the majority of the contest, as Golden State fell behind early.

Paul George led the charge with 14 first quarter points en route to a double-digit lead after twelve minutes. The Pacers maintained in the second quarter and held a 13-point halftime advantage. Indiana bolstered its lead to 20 early in the third quarter, but Golden State wasn’t done yet.

Stephen Curry, David Lee and Klay Thompson led a ferocious comeback attempt, trailing by as few as two points late in the game. Fortunately for the Pacers, the deficit was too much for the Warriors as Indiana pulled out the 102-94 victory, their fifth straight win and 33rd overall.

At haltime and following the game, the TNT crew raved about Indiana’s defense, which is best in the NBA in every major statistical category. No other team is close. Barkley and O’Neal shared the most detailed opinions about the Indiana Pacers.

Barkley, not shy about his respect for Indiana, said the Pacers “bring it night in and night out,” making it tough on their opponents. He also stated their defense will continue to win them ballgames.

“(Frank Vogel) is the most underrated coach in the NBA,” Barkley said.

Meanwhile, Shaq agreed that Indiana is elite and plays very strong defense. He had good things to say about the Pacers, but also mentioned that Indiana “might” be able to knock off the Miami Heat, but they’re still not the favorite. Barkley, on the other hand, believes the Pacers certainly can.

Although Indiana sits at the midway point of the season, it’s always entertaining to listen to the “NBA on TNT” crew.

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