Charles Barkley loves himself some playoff hockey. The Hall of Fame basketball player and current TNT basketball analyst has regularly declared that playoff hockey is far superior to playoff basketball, so it shouldn’t come as a huge surprise that on Monday night he popped up at Game 3 of the Stanley Cup Final between the Lightning and Avalanche in Tampa.
Barkley joined the ESPN studio crew for the first intermission report, where Steve Levy had Chuck break down a Lightning goal by Ondrej Palat off an Avalanche turnover, which naturally set Barkley up for a joke about Jayson Tatum and the Celtics.
"This is a regular Jayson Tatum turnover. I'm sorry, I'm just joking!"
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) June 21, 2022
Chuck is referencing the more than 100 turnovers the Celtics star had in the playoffs, setting a new all-time record for turnovers by a player in a single postseason. Those turnovers from Tatum (and Jaylen Brown and Marcus Smart and really the entire Boston team) became the most important metric for the Celtics success in the playoffs, as they lost every single game they turned the ball over more than 16 times. The Warriors defense took advantage of that, pressuring the Celtics ball handlers and jumping passing lanes to take advantage of sloppy play en route to a six-game Finals win.
With ESPN having the NBA Finals, Chuck wasn’t able to get off any jokes or takes about the Celtics play on TV so he couldn’t help himself when the opportunity arose on his guest spot on the NHL broadcast.