Before Game 1 of the Bulls-Celtics Eastern Conference Playoffs series on Sunday night, TNT’s Charles Barkley said that the Bulls had “zero chance” to win the game (video via Freezing Cold Takes):
“Let me tell you something, Ernie. The Chicago Bulls got zero chance tonight. Zero.”
Welp, the Bulls won the game, 106-102.
Now, the Celtics (53-29) were the East’s No. 1 seed, and the Bulls were the definition of average, with a record right at .500 (41-41).
And this game came one day after the tragic news of Celtics star Isaiah Thomas’ sister dying in a car accident. The Celtics figured to really, really want this one, and in front of their home fans in a raucous TD Garden.
But, the Celtics aren’t quite as dominant as your typical No. 1 seed either, and aren’t even the favorite to win the Eastern Conference (that would be the Cavs). The Bulls may have been very mediocre this season, but they still have one of the league’s top-15 players in Jimmy Butler (he had 30 points in this game), and they actually look like a very good team on occasion. It’s why the Celtics were “only” favored by 6.5 points in this game (the Warriors were favored by 15 points over the Blazers, for example).
So, the Bulls may not have had a high chance to come away with the upset, but it was certainly well over the “zero” percent chance Chuck gave them, and they made that clear with the win.