Barkley and Erving not Impressed by 86 Cs

Charles Barkley was talking a lot of trash after the 76ers' loss to the Celtics yesterday. Barkley had a career-high 21 rebounds and scored a team- high 26 points (it would have been 30 if he hadn't missed two dunks), then said some nasty things about the Celtics .

"We're better overall than these suckers," said Barkley.

He also said that Cleveland had better total talent than Boston.

"One through 12, Cleveland has more talent than Boston," said Barkley. "That's the truth. Anyone who knows basketball knows that . . ."

Dennis Johnson laughed when he heard Barkley's remarks, then said, "I don't even know how to respond to that. He's a young guy. You've got to believe you're better than the other team, but he's still out there fighting everything. He made a couple of crucial mistakes today. A couple of those slam dunks he probably should have just laid up easy. He tried to tomahawk 'em, but he just had the tom and not the hawk."

The Celts decided to give Kevin McHale another day off. McHale must really be hurting. He averaged 28 points and 11 rebounds in the first three Celtic- Sixers games. He has tendinitis in his left Achilles' tendon and did not play Friday against Golden State. Team physician Thomas Silva said McHale's condition was "much-improved," but noted that yesterday's day off means McHale won't have to play again until Thursday in Chicago. "That was a big factor," said Silva. McHale has missed only five games in his six-year Celtics career -- three last year and two this season.

Julius Erving on McHale and the Boston bench: "With McHale off the bench, they have a better team than they do now. I've heard people say, 'They've got a stronger team, a stronger bench,' but I don't know if I buy that. They've had stronger teams. They may make a liar out of me, but right now I'm not impressed.

They're moving at a good pace right now." . . . The Celtics were 34-7 after 41 games last year. They are 33-8 at the midpoint this year and own the best record in the NBA.

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