Confidence in the Memphis Grizzlies should be up after their big play-in victory over the San Antonio Spurs last night. But, if you know anything about Grizzlies fans, that feeling often comes and goes in waves - at time even with a single win or loss. For as good as Grizz Nation should feel about beating a veteran Spurs team, they now have to face a squad that just soundly defeated them just five days ago in the Golden State Warriors with their season on the line. And Memphis probably was less confident in the Grizzlies Play-in prospects after that loss.
The SB Nation Reacts poll backs that up. According to the latest SB Nation Reacts survey, 88 percent of Grizzlies fans are confident the team is headed in the right direction. That’s down from a full 100 percent last week but up from 67 percent two weeks ago.
Looks like a bit of a roller coaster, right? The SB Nation Reacts folks get the Grizzlies!
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 played its first two play-in tournament games with one team advancing to the NBA playoffs (the Los Angeles Lakers) and one team having its season ended (the San Antonio Spurs).
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. That will be tested this Friday in their rematch with Memphis. They are followed by the Los Angeles Lakers, who have 80 percent of fans that believe they will win a game. That 80% was correct - LeBron James and company survived the Warriors and are now the #7 seed out west.
All those suckers that picked the Spurs should feel pretty silly right now. In all seriousness, making the 7-8 seed game is so valuable for a team like the Warriors, who now has a chance to beat a team that they have already defeated, in their home arena, to get in the playoffs. Memphis surely thinks they can hang with Golden State - they did last Sunday - but there has to be some adjustments made in order for them to pull off what will almost certainly be seen as an underdog win. Those that picked the Warriors to advance won’t abandon them because of a LeBron James late three pointer to save the season for the Lakers.
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.
Silly SB Nation Reacts. You missed on that one!
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.
No, Desmond Bane did not make the cut. And no, he probably shouldn’t have. An All-Rookie 2nd team selection may be possible/probable for the 30th pick in the 2020 NBA Draft, but Ball/Edwards/Haliburton (and even a couple others) are more deserving. Bane has had a terrific season, though.
After their win Wednesday the Lakers will play the Phoenix Suns in the first round. The Grizzlies or Warriors will play Friday 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.
Dillon Brooks, like Bane, probably has an argument to be in the mix for one of the All-NBA teams as well - the Defensive one. He has made life hard for the likes of Stephen Curry and DeMar DeRozan in the last week when he took them on as his match-up, and while Brooks is less likely to get that defensive recognition than Bane is as an All-Rookie member that doesn’t change the fact that Dillon has grown remarkably as a defender this season. He is the straw that stirs the defensive drink of the Grizzlies.
To vote in the Reacts surveys and have your voice heard each week, sign up here.