The voters like the champs.
This week’s Seattle Sidelines poll delved into the NBA on the occasion of the 40th anniversary of the Seattle SuperSonics claiming the league’s championship. The NBA finals are currently underway, pitting the two-time defending league-champion Golden State Warriors against the upstart Toronto Raptors.
When the poll was posted Monday the best-of-seven series was tied 1-1 after the teams split the first two games in Toronto. So with the series boiled down to a best-of-five, with Golden State wresting away home-court advantage, but with the Warriors facing a possible injury crisis, we asked the readers which team they thought would win the NBA title. Here’s how you voted:
POLL: Which team wins the NBA championship? Full context, including a look at where the series currently stands, here: https://t.co/lg5LP9JP89
— Nick Patterson (@NickHPatterson) June 3, 2019
Add the two together and 64 percent of responders picked the Warriors to win their third straight championship, while 36 percent stumped for the underdog Raptors. The percentages were nearly identical between the website poll and the Twitter poll, so this would seem to be an accurate depiction of what local sports fans believe.
I paid attention to the voting throughout the time the polls were posted, so I know that pretty much all the votes came in prior to Wednesday night’s Game 3 — the polls closed Thursday morning. Therefore, this result reflects the fans’ thinking when the series was tied. I wonder how things would change following the Game 3 result.
Golden State’s worst fears came true in Game 3. Kevin Durant was deemed not ready to return from the calf injury that’s held him out the past month. Klay Thompson was a game-time decision for Game 3 because of a hamstring strain suffered in Game 2, and the Warriors decided not to risk it as Thompson watched all of Game 3 from the bench. Golden State had players like Quinn Cook and Alfonzo McKinnie play major minutes, and Steph Curry (47 points) was pretty much a one-man show on offense.
Toronto took advantage. The Raptors received another 30 points from Kawhi Leonard, got 23 from Kyle Lowry despite being shoved by a Golden State fan on the sidelines, and Toronto won 123-109 to take a 2-1 series lead.
Kyle Lowry was shaking his head after a courtside fan pushed him when he fell into the crowd. pic.twitter.com/5SwQv3hdnN
— NBA on ESPN (@ESPNNBA) June 6, 2019
Game 4 is Friday in Oakland, and the calculus will change again. Thompson is expected to play Friday, and Durant hasn’t been ruled out yet either. But regardless of Friday’s result the Raptors have taken home-court advantage back. While NBA finals television ratings are way down, one can’t say there’s been a lack of intrigue in the series.
Finally, I received a couple responses from readers expressing the opinion that they couldn’t care less about the NBA while Seattle doesn’t have a team. I didn’t include a “Who cares?” option in the poll, but perhaps I should have. It would be interesting to see what percentage of sports enthusiasts in the area maintain such a strong grudge against the NBA for taking away the Sonics that they won’t pay attention to the league at all.