By Anthony Caruso III | Publisher
The Phoenix Suns and the Milwaukee Bucks will play in the 2021 NBA Finals presented by YouTube TV. This is a unique matchup, as it features two small-market teams in the final series of the season.
The first game of the series is tonight. The series, if necessary, could potentially run through July 22nd.
Both teams will also look to end very long NBA Championship droughts. Combined, the teams have not won a championship in 103 seasons, the most by any two teams in a Finals matchup.
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The Suns have never won an NBA Championship in their team history. They joined the league in the 1968 season.
The Bucks won their lone NBA Championship in 1971.
Uniquely, both of these teams joined the NBA as expansion teams during the 1968-69 season. Also, the two teams were in a coin toss for the right to draft the top selection in the 1969 NBA Draft.
The Bucks won the coin toss and drafted Lew Alcindor (now known as Kareem Abdul-Jabbar) with the selection.
For the first time since 1998, there will be no teams from California, Texas, or Florida in the NBA Finals. According to SportsBettingDime.com, public bettors are loading up on the Suns, which right now have an odds at -200 to win the Finals.
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Phoenix won both games between the teams in the regular season. However, it was a razor-thin margin of victory as both games were decided by one point.
In February, the Suns won 125-124 in Phoenix. Then, in April, the two teams needed overtime, before the Suns came out with a 128-127 win in Milwaukee.
The Suns have the lone player with NBA Finals experience. Jae Crowder was a member of the Miami Heat last season that lost to the Los Angeles Lakers in the NBA Finals in the NBA Bubble near Orlando, Florida.
After 16 seasons, Chris Paul is making his first NBA Finals appearance. Paul was acquired in a blockbuster deal with the Oklahoma City Thunder during the off-season.
Milwaukee may be forced to play without their superstar at least early in the series. Giannis Antetokounmpo is nursing a hyperextended knee that he injured in the Eastern Conference Finals against the Atlanta Hawks.
For Game 1, Antetokounmpo is listed as a game-time decision. Antetokounmpo was averaging 28.2 points per game in the playoffs before being injured.
The 28.2 ppg is the 11th-most by a player in the postseason.
Devin Booker, the Suns’ superstar, is not too far away from Antetokounmpo. He’s averaging 27 ppg.
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