PORTLAND, Ore. — The Portland Trail Blazers lost a hard-fought game to the Oklahoma City Thunder in overtime on Thursday night.
In a game filled with hard fouls and emotional confrontations, one of the most shocking moments during the TNT broadcast didn’t even happen on the court.
During the halftime show, with the Blazers leading 61-58, TNT analysts Kenny Smith and Charles Barkley shared their bold playoff predictions for Portland.
Smith said he believed that the Blazers have the best chance to challenge the Golden State Warriors in the Western Conference and predicted that Portland would face Golden State in the Western Conference Finals.
That’s when Barkley one-upped his co-host.
“Put it on the board! The Portland Trail Blazers are going to the Finals!” Barkley yelled. “The NBA Finals!”
Smith then agreed with Barkley and joined the prediction.
Both cited the Blazers’ acquisitions of center Enes Kanter and forward Rodney Hood as reasons the Blazers will break through their recent playoff woes. Portland hasn't advanced to the Western Conference Finals since 2000, when they lost to the Lakers in 7 games.
Fellow TNT analysts Shaquille O’Neal and Reggie Miller, who was calling the game at the Moda Center, disagreed with the finals prediction. Miller joked that he didn’t know what Barkley and Smith were drinking on the set in Atlanta.
The loss to Oklahoma City dropped Portland to 5th in the Western Conference. The Blazers are fighting with Houston and Oklahoma City for home-court advantage in the first round of the playoffs.
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