It’s hard to believe it was only eight days ago when, fresh off Washington’s Game 1 win at Indiana, TNT’s Charles Barkley guaranteed the Wizards would make the Eastern Conference finals.
“Guaranteed,” Barkley said. “No doubt whatsoever.”
Well, those days are gone like Roy Hibbert’s struggles and Sir Charles has his doubts. Serious doubts. Here was Barkley on TNT after the Wizards lost Game 4 on Sunday at Verizon Center to fall behind the Pacers 3-1 in the series:
“To me it’s all about the Pacers now. …The next game is going to show me are the Pacers back. Because if you’re going home in this situation, you’ve got to put your foot on Washington’s neck. If they do not close out Washington next game, they will have no chance next round. You’ve got to win that next game, to me, if you’re Indiana. If they don’t win, even if they win the series, that will show me they don’t have that killer instinct. You gotta finish off Washington.”
In other words, Washington can do LeBron James and the Heat a favor by extending the series at least one more game. Kenny Smith wasn’t quite as willing to write off Washington, which will try to become the ninth team to win a series after trailing 3-1 and only the third to do it by winning two of the final three games on the road.
“The one thing that we’ve seen is inconsistency for Indiana,” Smith said. “There’s inexperience on one side but there’s inconsistency on the other, so I’m scared to say that this 3-1 deficit is too much of a hole for Washington to fight out of. I just don’t believe that it’s not possible.”
So he’s saying there’s a chance. After James’s 49 points helped the Heat take a 3-1 advantage over the Brooklyn Nets on Monday, Barkley sounded even more resigned to the fact that his Wizards prediction won’t come true.
“[James] has a lot of weight to carry and I don’t think he wanted the Indiana Pacers getting five or six days off, because they gotta go to Indiana for the first two games,” Barkley said. “It’s going to be a terrific series when they play Indiana.”