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Charles Barkley calls Clippers best in the West

The Clippers' total dismantling of the woebegone Lakers on Thursday elicited all sorts of responses about the talent on this Clippers team.

Just listen to what basketball Hall of Famer and TNT analyst Charles Barkley had to say about who are the best teams in the West.

"The two best teams in the Western Conference are the Los Angeles Clippers and the Oklahoma City Thunder…in that order," Barkley said Thursday night during the telecast of the Clippers-Lakers game.

Indeed, the Clippers are playing their best basketball of the season, producing a season-best six-game winning streak.

Their 48-point smack-down of the Lakers was their largest margin of victory in franchise history.

Though the Clippers still have 19 regular-season games left, that didn't stop some in the media from asking if this team was poised to win an NBA championship.

"I don't know that," Clippers Coach Doc Rivers said. "That's what we're here for, I can tell you that. But we have a long ways to go.

"In the West, you can win it or lose in the first [round]. It's a hard conference. Everybody is going to be ready. I'm really looking forward to it and I think our guys are looking forward to it."

Barkley seemed to overlook the San Antonio Spurs, who ran over the two-time defending NBA champion Miami Heat on Thursday night.

The Spurs are riding a five-game winning streak and they are getting healthy. The Spurs defeated the Clippers in the first game after the All-Star break and have a 2-1 lead in the season series.

The Thunder leads the West, owning a half-game lead over the Spurs and a 3 1/2-game lead over the Clippers

Before Friday night's games, the Clippers were the fourth seed in the West behind the third-seeded Houston Rockets.

Glen Davis knows what it feels like when a team is marching toward an NBA championship. The newly acquired Clipper, was on the Boston Celtics team that Rivers coached to the title in 2008.

Davis said it's a "special feeling … that you can't describe" when a team is walking down that path to win a championship.

"I feel it in this locker room," Davis said. "It's a belief. It's almost to the point of supernatural. We're starting to believe. Not only believe but put in the work.

"We're going to have some tests coming up. It'll test our character, test what kind of team you are. And we look forward to it."


The Clippers didn't practice Friday, but will be back at work Saturday night when they host the Atlanta Hawks at Staples Center.


Twitter: @BA_Turner

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