Colin Cowherd predicted that the Timberwolves-Nuggets series was over. Then, Denver came back. Photo credit: The Herd

Stephen A. Smith apologized Wednesday for predicting the Denver Nuggets would get swept in the Western Conference Semifinals. Still, he’s not the only one whose take on that series aged horribly.

Several other analysts should join Smith in the apology line. He wasn’t the only one predicting a Minnesota Timberwolves series win or even sweep.

Those predictions look terrible in retrospect now that the Nuggets have won three straight games to take a 3-2 series lead. Colin Cowherd hopped on the T-Wolves bandwagon after they went up 0-2, saying, “Out west … the defending champs won’t be the repeat champs. That series — it’s over. Denver’s got no answers … I think Denver is cooked. I think it’s over.”

Smith had not only predicted the Timberwolves might sweep Denver, he predicted they would go on to win the NBA Finals.

“I think the Denver Nuggets are on the verge of getting swept, and I believe that the Minnesota Timberwolves are gonna win the world championship,” he said last week.

Smith said on ESPN’s First Take Wednesday he was “embarrassed by his prediction.

“Right now, the Minnesota Timberwolves have me looking like I have made the worst prediction in the history of my career,” Smith said. “I’ve never been more embarrassed by a prediction that I have made than what I did … saying this about the Minnesota Timberwolves.”

TNT’s Charles Barkley likewise predicted last week that the Nuggets were cooked: “The Minnesota Timberwolves are for real. They’re going to sweep the Denver Nuggets. Period.”


After Denver’s Game 3 victory, head coach Michael Malone revealed he’d made a compilation of “every talking head in this country” who’d predicted the Nuggets were done and shared it with his players.

Barkley fired back at that news on Inside the NBA.

“Dude, we get paid to give an opinion. If you watched those first two games, you didn’t think Denver was going to win,” Barkley said.

Frankly, the Nuggets looked so bad in those first two losses that it’s hard to blame anyone for predicting they’d go down, maybe in four straight. Here’s a clip from Minneapolis TV station KSTC 45 before Game 3, with anchors Matt Belanger and Brandi Powell confident the T-Wolves had the series under control.

“Only five teams in NBA history have ever come back after losing two home games in a playoff to win a best-of-seven series,” Powell said. “That means Timberwolves fans, if you’re a little nervous — relax, relax!”

‘Don’t worry about it,” Belanger added.

After revealing he’d made that motivational tape with all the Nuggets naysayers, Malone admitted he couldn’t blame the critics.

“This is not a shot at those people,” Malone said. “Because after those first two games, I probably would have said the same thing.”


About Arthur Weinstein

Arthur spends his free time traveling around the U.S. to sporting events, state and national parks, and in search of great restaurants off the beaten path.