It seems that Damian Lillard isn’t the only person
insane enough to think who believes that the Portland Trail Blazers could beat the Lakers in the first round of the NBA playoffs, but at least he has the excuse of being on the damn team. Of course he has to believe they have a chance! Charles Barkley has no such justification, but that didn’t stop him from firing off the hot take cannon nonetheless.
The NBA legend and outspoken commentator shouted out what can only be described as “The Charles Barkley Golf Swing” of basketball predictions on the latest episode of “Inside the NBA” on Thursday night:
“I’m gonna tell you this: If the Portland Trail Blazers get in the playoffs, they will beat the Los Angeles Lakers in the first round.”
Chuck is back with another bold prediction pic.twitter.com/LpUTdD8CcH— NBA on TNT (@NBAonTNT) July 17, 2020
I am being told I am apparently not allowed to fill the rest of this post with clown emojis, so I guess I have to summon up some thoughts on this.
The Blazers were 29-37 when the season stopped, which left them 3.5 games back of the Memphis Grizzlies for the eighth playoff spot in the Western Conference. When the league returns later this month, they will be trying to beat out the New Orleans Pelicans for a chance to face the Grizzlies in a play-in game for the final seed (the ninth seed just has to get within four games of the eighth seed to qualify for the play-in game). If they manage to do that and win said game, they will earn the right to
get destroyed by face the Lakers in the first round.
Would the Blazers have a chance in such a matchup? No.
What? You expected more? Seriously? Okay, fiiiiine.
I guess technically anything is possible in this kind of restart, but even with the Lakers missing Rajon Rondo and Avery Bradley, the Blazers haven’t exactly done much this year that makes it seem like they could win four out of seven games against the Lakers. They might take one, or maybe even two and make it a mildly interesting series if they catch L.A. on a particular cold streak, but it’s kind of hard to believe they would be much of a threat outsized of getting some seriously unforeseeable luck.
Now, Barkley has been touting the Blazers for a while, so maybe this is one of those teams he just really irrationally likes. Like how he used to pick against the Warriors all the time because he hates threes. Or maybe all evidence and conventional wisdom is wrong. But for now, it’s really hard to take predictions like this seriously unless the Lakers suffer some massively bad injury misfortune or something similarly unpredictable. As long as they have LeBron James and Anthony Davis, that should be enough to beat the Blazers fairly easily.