Philadelphia's weighty concern over the Mound's pounds can be traced to the back ailments that plagued him at Auburn. Thus far, however, Barkley's only infirmity has come in training camp. It was an appropriately Pantagruelian malady: an infectious boil in his armpit that had to be lanced, forcing him to forswear deodorant for a week.
What, then, will happen when we get a whiff of spring and the playoffs are nigh? "It seems like we're on a head-on collision course," Dennis Johnson says. "It's what everybody would like to see."
But what will we see?
Count 'em up: eight arguments in Philly's favor, seven in Boston's. But count, too, on one more unlikelihood. The Celts in seven.
[This article contains a table. Please see hardcopy of magazine or PDF.]