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Every team still playing for the NBA championship has their season on the line in some capacity each game. However, some teams are backed into a corner more than others. Wednesday night the Western Conference plays its first two play-in tournament games with one team advancing to the NBA playoffs and one team having its season ended.
According to the latest SB Nation Reacts survey, fans around the NBA think the Golden State Warriors have the best chance of advancing beyond the play-in tournament, with 81 percent believing the team will win one of their games. They are followed by the Los Angeles Lakers, who have 80 percent of fans that believe they will win a game.
One of those top two teams will punch their ticket Wednesday night when the Warriors and Lakers play against each other. While it’s not quite a win-or-go-home game, the loser would be put into an extremely dangerous position. Fortunately for Los Angeles and Golden State, they have two of the best players in the game in Stephen Curry and LeBron James.
However, if forced to pick between the two, nearly three-fourths of fans believe Curry is more dangerous in an elimination game than James. Cavs fans, I am sure, disagreew ith this.
The first of the Eastern Conference play-in tournament games were played Tuesday night with the Boston Celtics earning the first bid into the playoffs after beating the Washington Wizards. 61 percent of NBA fans believed the Celtics would advance, falling only behind the Wizards team they beat, which took 78 percent. The Indiana Pacers received the least amount of votes, with only 24 percent, but lived to fight another day after beating the Charlotte Hornets.
The Hornets loss ended their season, but it’s not the end of exciting times in Charlotte. Point guard LaMelo Ball was picked by 52 percent of NBA fans as the player who should win the Rookie of the Year award. Ball beat out Minnesota Timberwolves’ top pick Anthony Edwards 36 percent and Sacramento Kings rookie Tyrese Haliburton who earned 12 percent.
Wednesday night’s winner between the Lakers and Warriors will decide who plays the Phoenix Suns in the first round. The loser will play for a chance to face off against the Utah Jazz and center Rudy Gobert. The Jazz star was the top pick among fans, with 49 percent of the vote, to win Defensive Player of the Year.
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