TNT's Charles Barkley took issue with those going ga-ga over the Knicks.
"I get mad when people try to say they're back," Barkley said last night at the Garden, before the Knicks knocked off the Heat, 93-88. "They're not back. They're a lot more interesting. They're going to make the playoffs. But so is Philadelphia."
Amar'e Stoudemire's signature phrase when he signed was, "The Knicks are back" and it's caught on in all marketing slogans.
Barkley, the outspoken Hall of Famer turned broadcaster, also ripped Mike D'Antoni's speedball offense as he relaxed in the green room before the game with two writers.
Barkley was asked if D'Antoni's offense can win a title. The Phoenix resident who's seen a ton of Suns games across the decade laughed.
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"I can already read the headline: Barkley bashes D'Antoni," Barkley said.
"I don't think they can win with this system," he said. "I saw it in Phoenix. They had a lot more talent in Phoenix. A lot more. The three most critical areas of the game are defense, rebounding and turnovers. That's the fundamental flaws of that system. It's not going to end pretty.
"I watched them every night during the last few years [under D'Antoni], and that system exaggerated how great a player you are. Go back to all the guys playing in Phoenix -- Barbosa, Diaw, Shawn Marion, Quentin Richardson. All those guys had inflated numbers. David Lee. They left that system and maybe those guys are not great players. As soon as you leave the system they kind of dropped off the face of the earth. One thing I'll say about Mike, he's made a lot of guys money."
Barkley said Stoudemire should not be the midpoint's MVP.
"He's in the conversation but [Chicago's] Derrick Rose is the MVP," Barkley said. "You can't have the MVP from the sixth seed."
Barkley sees Carmelo Anthony with the Knicks sooner or later.
"If he doesn't get dealt here by the trade deadline, he'll come play here next year," Barkley said. "I thought he should've taken the [Nets] deal. I like some of Jersey's pieces, Brook Lopez I like. They're going to Brooklyn in a couple of years. I thought he should've taken that deal."
Barkley said the Knicks aren't close to being a conference title contender.
"They're a long way away," Barkley said. "The four best teams in the East are head and shoulders above everybody else."