Barkley, O’Neal say Grizzlies will lose to Timberwolves in the NBA playoffs

The Memphis Grizzlies know their playoff opponent will be the Minnesota Timberwolves. Now they’ll have motivation after TNT’s “Inside the NBA” crew made their predictions late Tuesday night.

Both Charles Barkley and Shaquille O’Neal picked the No. 7-seeded Timberwolves to upset the Grizzlies while Kenny Smith picked the Grizzlies. The series begins Saturday at FedExForum (2:30 pm, ESPN / Bally Sports Southeast)

After Barkley called the Timberwolves inconsistent and “the dumbest team in the league,” he still picked them because of their perceived talent advantage. Smith followed by praising the Grizzlies as both talented and smart.

Shaquille O'Neal and Charles Barkley, seen here in 2013, joined former President Barack Obama to encourage people to get COVID-19 vaccines.

“To me, talent gets you to the playoffs. Your experience and your smarts get you out of each round. We’ve seen what Memphis has done even without Ja (Morant),” Smith said. “They are a smart basketball team, they look for each other, they collectively do things. There is a game plan that you can honestly see every time they walk on the floor.”

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