Charles Barkley guaranteed Hornets would win play-in game, so of course Pacers crushed them

Charles Barkley is off to a rough start with his postseason predictions.

The “NBA on TNT” analyst opened Tuesday’s show with a shiny new “GUARANTEE!” button and used it before the first game of the evening. Barkley declared that the Hornets would defeat the Pacers to extend their season and advance to the next round of the Eastern Conference play-in tournament.

While Indiana entered the play-in contest as the higher seed, it was also dealing with a long list of injuries, so Barkley was hardly the only basketball mind who felt Charlotte would prevail.

Yeah, about that . . .

The Pacers came out and absolutely dominated the Hornets, capturing a 69-45 lead by halftime on the way to an easy 144-117 victory. Indiana had eight different double-digit scorers and shot 55.2 percent from the field as a team.

When the “NBA on TNT” producers replayed Barkley’s prediction at halftime, he could only laugh knowing he had added another loss to his record. Kenny Smith referred to Barkley’s stamp of approval as the “kiss of death,” which isn’t much of a stretch considering his “GUARANTEE!” win percentage at one point last year was only 13.7 percent.

But did that stop Chuck from hitting the “GUARANTEE!” button again? Nope.

Barkley later announced the Celtics would defeat the Wizards in the second game of the play-in doubleheader.

Congratulations to Washington!

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