Charles Barkley puts his money on Portland winning the West


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Charles Barkley never met a bold statement he didn’t like. The TNT commentator was his usual self when he talked up the Portland Trail Blazers on Thursday.

Charles Barkley is known for picking against the Golden State Warriors. He memorably said that jump-shooting teams don’t win championships in the 2015 postseason. Golden State then proceeded to make Barkley eat his words. Barkley picked the Oklahoma City Thunder to beat the Warriors in the 2016 Western Conference Finals. He came close, but he was still ultimately wrong on that score.

Here we are again: Barkley has touted the Portland Trail Blazers as his Western Conference champion, insisting on an NBA Finals representative other than the Dubs. It’s who he is. It’s what he does. Sir Charles lives to stir the drink on national television in the TNT studios. He has a way of making viewers pay attention to him.

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The truly surprising part of this latest Barkley prediction is not that he picked against the Warriors — that’s a very familiar move by Barkley. Love him or hate him, he creates interesting television, a part of his success on the communications medium. What is surprising is that Barkley didn’t go with either the Houston Rockets or Oklahoma City Thunder, teams which have gone much deeper into the playoffs — and have pushed the Warriors to a Game 7 — in the past four years. The Blazers have not been an easy opponent for the Warriors, to be sure. The two teams engaged in a deceptively close five-game series in 2016. The Warriors needed a remarkable second-half performance to win Game 4 on the road in Portland and take control of that series.

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Nevertheless, Charles Barkley has decided to go with the 2019 Blazers as his West championship pick.

Call Barkley many things, if you like; “boring” is never one of them.

paul george

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