Boston Celtics fans can already make their plans for the 2024 NBA Finals even though the Eastern Conference finals is yet to finish. For one, Boston is up 3-0 in their series versus the Indiana Pacers, which means the Celtics have virtually clinched their spot in the NBA Finals.

Whichever team the Celtics would face in the finals, assuming that Boston gets the job done against the Pacers, Boston will likely be the favorite. However, NBA legend Charles Barkley has expressed his doubts about whether Jayson Tatum and company can go all the way and end the franchise's title drought this year.

On Sunday, Barkley shares his concern about the Celtics after seeing how Boston played against the Tyrese Haliburton-less Pacers on Saturday.

“[Last night] was the first time I said, ‘I don’t know if they can win the championship,” the former league Most Valuable Player said on Inside the NBA during TNT's coverage of Game 3 of the Western Conference finals between the Minnesota Timberwolves and the Dallas Mavericks.

“They’ve got no ball movement… they win games strictly on talent and that’s not going to work against a better team,” added Barkley.

In Game 3 of the Celtics-Pacers series, Indiana surprisingly kept the game close up to the end even though the Pacers missed the services of Haliburton due to injury. Despite the absence of Haliburton, the Pacers recorded more assists than Boston, 32-24. It's worth mentioning here that the Pacers' offense has always been predicated on excellent ball movement. Most other teams' ball movement would understandably look pale in comparison with the Pacers' unselfishness.

Back in the regular season, the Pacers were sixth in the league with a 65.4 percent assist rate and No. 1 in the playoffs with a 67.1 percent assist rate, thus far. Andrew Nembhard and Pascal Siakam combined for 15 assists for the Pacers starters while TJ McConnell added six dimes off the bench.

The Celtics would have loved to have come away from Game 3 with a much more convincing victory but Boston will always take a win whichever way they could. Boston was not at its best in Game 3, but that doesn't mean they can't play like a lot better going forward. For most of the season, Boston, whether through talent or teamwork or a combination of both, looked like the best team in the entire NBA. They had the best adjusted net rating back in the regular season with a +10.8. No other team had a better adjusted net rating than +6.8.

Fans react to Charles Barkley's take on the Celtics

Boston Celtics forward Jayson Tatum (0) and guard Jaylen Brown (7) react after a play against the Cleveland Cavaliers in the first quarter during game two of the second round for the 2024 NBA playoffs at TD Garden
David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

It looks like Barkley has triggered a lot of people with what he said about Boston, with fans on social media pushing back on his take.

“Their best player had one of the best playmaking games of his playoff career last night. Come on Chuck.”

“The best offensive system usually works. The team that gets the easiest baskets…”

“If anyone knows how to win a championship it's Charles Barkley.”

“Right cause heaven forbid the Celtics grind out a win, execute and out-tough another team just “talent” when it’s time to give them credit.”

“Remember when Charles Barkley won a ring ??Nooo…. me Neither”

“So, who is a better team? C's had best regular season record, check. C's were 23-7 against the ‘mighty West', check. C's were 2-0 against the Mavs this year, when Luka/Kyrie played, check. C's were 1-1 against the Wolves, but will get home court advantage. What's your point?”

“Team fights back and stays connected all game after being down 18 and the other team hitting inefficient shots, shot after shot, and your response is to not think they can win a championship anymore? Charles Barkley won no rings and it shows.”