Both Charles Barkley and Shaquille O’Neal chose the No. 7 Timberwolves to upset the Grizzlies, while Kenny Smith chose the Grizzlies. The series kicks off Saturday at FedExForum (2:30 pm, ESPN / Bally Sports Southeast)
After calling Barclain Timberwolves the “most stupid team in the league”, he still chose them because of the benefits of perceived talent. Smith followed, praising the Grizzlies as talented and intelligent.
“For me, talent takes you to the playoffs. Your experience and ingenuity take you out of each stage. “We have seen what Memphis has done, even without Gaius (Moranti).” “They are a smart basketball team, they are looking for each other, they are doing something together. “There is a game plan that you can honestly see every time they walk on the floor.”
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O’Neill sided with Barkley because he liked how the Timberwolves “do not crack under pressure.” He praised how they came together against the Clippers after all-star Carl Anthony Towns broke in the fourth quarter.
“Can you play crazy because you know Patrick Burley, he has his fun,” O’Neill said. “Many times, when you are upset, you can not play, can you play poorly for 4-7 games, we’ll see.”
Smith և host Ernie Johnson responded by asking when Memphis broke under pressure. According to NBA statistics, the Grizzlies have the second-highest winning percentage of the NBA this season in clichés (.656), as determined by the last five minutes of the game when the team is leading or five points behind or less.
The Grizzlies are 21-11 in clutch time with close wins over the Phoenix Suns, Golden State Warriors and Utah Jazz. It also includes an extra-time victory over the Timberwolves, where the Grizzlies scored 16 points in the fourth quarter deficit.
That did not deter O’Neill or Barkley, who turned to statistics for the Grizzlies-Timberwolves regular season. They questioned Ja Morant, who averaged 20 points in four games, compared to Timberwolves goalkeeper D’Angelo Russell, who averaged 31.0 points, as well as Morant’s strong defense of Burley.
“It tells me that it is a difficult match for him, especially if D’Angelo plays the way he did,” said Barkley. “And secondly, the stimulus (Berley) will drive Jay crazy.
He noted that this may be the first time that the “Grizzlies” will qualify for the playoffs. This is only the second time in the franchise’s history that they have had a home court advantage.
However, the Grizzlies did not live up to their pre-season expectations for the No. 2 spot. They are expected to win this series, but Grizzlies fans will now be more inclined to throw it in the face of both Barkley and O’Neill.
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This article originally appeared on the Memphis Commercial Appeal. Barkley and O’Neill say the Grizzlies will lose to the Timberwolves in the NBA playoffs.