Welcome to SB Nation Reacts, a survey of fans across the NBA. Each week we ask questions of the most plugged-in Phoenix Suns fans and fans across the country.
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The NBA Playoffs are full of ups and downs. Every game is different. Two-time MVP Steve Nash once said that after every win you feel like you’ll never lose again, and after every loss you feel like you’ll never win again.
He was talking about fan reaction, not his own. Every NBA player expects to win every game, but fans can be fickle because they have no control over either outcome.
After the Game 4 loss to the New Orleans Pelicans and the ongoing absence of star player Devin Booker (hamstring), many Phoenix Suns fans were worried about the outcome of the series.
But the reality was that the Suns still retained home court advantage in a 2-2 tied series, with two of the last three games at Phoenix.
On Monday and Tuesday, before Game 5 tipped off, only 44% of responding Suns fans thought the Suns would win the next two games.
Fortunately, the Suns won on Tuesday night, and now I’d bet a much higher percentage of fans expect the series to be over in six games with the Suns the victor.
I’d also venture to guess that, after the Suns won Game 3 last Friday night, a larger percentage of fans than 44% would have voted for the Suns to win the series in 6 games or less.
That’s just the nature of fandom.
Nationally, fans were a little less stressed, but more than half of national NBA respondents chose the Suns-Pelicans series as the most surprising of the first round.
Not Boston dominating the Nets. Not Philly dominating the Raptors. Nay, they said the Pelicans staying alive against the Suns was the most surprising first round matchup.
National sportsbooks agreed. They dropped the Suns from 1st to 3rd most-likely to win the championship after seeing them lose two of four games to the 10-seed Pelicans.
Now, the Suns are winners of Game 5 by a comfortable margin of 15 points. Never leading by less than 7 after the first quarter. They finally made some shots, and suddenly the whole game looked easier.
Let’s see how the Suns do in Game 6. If they win, we’ll look back on this series as more of a wake-up call than anything else.