Charles Barkley wants to see a backcourt battle between the Trail Blazers and the Warriors

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The Portland Trail Blazers took a 3-2 series lead over the injury-riddled L.A. Clippers last night with a 108-98 victory at the Staples Center, meaning Terry Stotts' men can close the first-round series at home in game six.

22 points from Damian Lillard and another 27 from Most Improved Player of the Year, C.J. McCollum, helped the Trail Blazers take control of the series as the Clippers couldn't get the job done without Blake Griffin and Chris Paul.

Following Portland's impressive road victory, the TNT crew on 'Inside the NBA' proceeded to break down how impressive the Trail Blazers have been as of late, especially considering they have had to claw their way back from a 2-0 deficit to take control of the series.

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In light of the crippling injuries that the Clippers have suffered, Charles Barkley - a two-time NBA hall of famer - said he wanted to see the Trail Blazers face the Warriors instead of the Los Angeles-based franchise.

"I'd actually like to see Portland win that series because [the Warriors] would sweep the Clippers without Chris Paul and Blake. The Clippers would get swept, but with those guards they got in Portland, that would be a very entertaining series."

Speaking of 'those guards', Barkley went on to suggest that in his personal opinion, Lillard and McCollum have usurped the Toronto Raptors backcourt pairing as the second best pair of guards in the NBA.

Barkley said: "I'm changing my rankings. You know I love Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan, but they're gonna drop."

When Ernie Johnson asked Barkley if that meant a promotion for the Portland duo, the 53-year-old insinuated they were only second to Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson in the NBA - the exact matchup he is desperate to see.

"They are the second-best two-guard combination, because they have been consistent all year, they're really stepping up in the playoffs," Barkley said. "And the one thing we've been talking about... your stars have to play well in the playoffs.

"And Lillard and McCollum, they have been fantastic. No disrespect to Kyle Lowry and DeMar, but that backcourt in Portland, they're the second best backcourt in the NBA in my opinion."

Lillard has particularly exploded since the All-Star break and has even publicly stated that being snubbed from the festival's gala game has been a huge motivating factor for the point guard.

The Warriors own a 3-1 record over the Trail Blazers in the regular season and Portland haven't won at the Oracle Arena since November 2013. In light of Curry's right knee sprain and the momentum the fifth seeds are generating in their series with the Clippers, it could be a potentially fascinating semi-final series.

Damian Lillard
Portland Trail Blazers
Northwest Division
Western Conference
Stephen Curry
Golden State Warriors
Pacific Division
Klay Thompson
CJ McCollum

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