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Charles Barkley is never afraid to speak his mind, even if what he says is sure to upset his TV bosses. The latest episode of Chuck telling it like it is happened when he told NBA fans not to bother watching most of the Eastern Conference NBA playoffs because the New York Knicks vs. Cleveland Cavaliers is the only series that will be any good.

Charles Barkley says don’t bother watching the NBA playoffs in the East until Round 2

Between the first and second play-in games of the 2023 NBA playoffs — where the Atlanta Hawks beat the Miami Heat to draw the Boston Celtics in Round 1 — the Inside the NBA crew discussed the Eastern Conference matchups.

The early pairings didn’t impress Charles Barkley, and he gave a brutal assessment of three of the four first-round series.

“The only thing that’s exciting about the Eastern Conference is the Knicks against Cavaliers. That’s the only thing exciting,” Barkley proclaimed. “America, don’t be foolish. They want you to watch these games. Philly, Boston, Milwaukee are head and shoulders above the rest of these bums in the Eastern Conference. Now the Knicks and Cleveland, that could be a really good series.”

Shaquille O’Neal asked Barkley if he thought that meant the Celtics would sweep the Hawks. Barkley responded that maybe the Hawks can win a game, “but they can’t beat the Celtics, and no one can beat Milwaukee.”

Barkley did admit there will be some drama in Round 2 when the question will become, “Can my Sixers beat the Celtics?”

After Barkley’s rant telling fans not to watch the games on the TNT and ESPN airwaves, host Ernie Johnson quipped perfectly, “Now you know why Chuck did not take that job with the promotions department of Warner Brothers/Discovery.”

Barkley is right about the Eastern Conference NBA Playoffs

Charles Barkley, NBA playoffs, Eastern Conference, New York Knicks, Cleveland Cavaliers
Charles Barkley | Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for TNT

While the Charles Barkley rant about the Eastern Conference playoffs didn’t sell any viewers on tuning into every game, much to the chagrin of Barkley’s bosses, he’s not wrong.

The first round in the East — outside of the Kicks vs. Cavs series — should be four- or five-game affairs at best.

The Philadelphia 76ers should destroy the now Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving-less Brooklyn Nets, and the Milwaukee Bucks vs. Miami Heat and Boston Celtics vs. Atlanta Hawks series should be equally drama-free.

Las Vegas certainly agrees, too.

The 76ers are -900 favorites, while the Celtics and Bucks are -1200 favorites. Those are big spreads, especially compared to the other series.

The Cavaliers are a slight -180 favorite over the Knicks, the Golden State Warriors are -275 vs. the Sacramento Kings, and the Memphis Grizzlies are -142 over the Los Angeles Lakers. The Phoenix Suns and Denver Nuggets are slightly bigger frontrunners at -500 over the Los Angeles Clippers and Minnesota Timberwolves, respectively.

While most of these won’t provide all that much drama, there may be a chance to make some money for NBA bettors. The Knicks do have a good chance to upset the Cavs, and there is also likely some good value with the Sacrament Kings, who had a much better season than the Warriors.  


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