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Lakers favored to win championship, LeBron James favored to win Finals MVP

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The Lakers are leading in the polls, but they’re going to need more than just the popular vote to win the NBA Finals.

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Denver Nuggets v Los Angeles Lakers - Game Five Photo by Fernando Medina/NBAE via Getty Images

Welcome to SB Nation Reacts, a survey of fans across the NBA. Each week, we send out questions to the most plugged in Lakers fans, and NBA fans across the country. Sign up here to join Reacts.

This year has easily been the strangest NBA season of the modern era. However, despite initials concerns about whether or not fans would even get to enjoy the NBA Finals, and this year’s Finals seems like it will have been worth the wait.

The Los Angeles Lakers have had title expectations since entering the bubble, and they’ve lived up to those expectations in the playoffs, going 12-3 in the first three rounds. The Miami Heat, however, have exceeded expectations in their playoff run, knocking out the No. 1 seeded Milwaukee Bucks and the No. 3 seeded Boston Celtics in their two previous series.

However, according to the most recent SB Nation Reacts survey, fans think that the Heat’s run is going to come to an end. Nearly two-thirds of NBA fans polled expect the Lakers to win the series, with a majority of fans thinking it will only take five or six games.

If that turns out to be true, Lakers superstar LeBron James will almost certainly play a large role. So as you might guess, the majority of fans said they expect James to win his fourth Finals MVP award. Similarly, if the Heat find a way to pull off the upset, Jimmy Butler had the next most votes for the award.

Butler is one of the best defensive guards in the NBA, and he’s been a steady force on offense in the postseason, averaging a career-high 20.7 points per game. However, the gap between Butler and James is pretty big, and the poll reflects that. The gap in talent between Butler and Anthony Davis sizable too, but Davis had to split votes with James, which is probably why he finished third.

The Heat have a well-constructed roster, an All-Star tandem in Butler and Bam Adebayo, and one of the best head coaches in the league. The Lakers have seen similar teams in their postseason run, though, and they’ve beaten them all in five games. The Heat shouldn’t be taken lightly, but the Lakers shouldn’t be lacking in confidence either.

Lakers in 7.

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