2021 NBA Finals: Phoenix Suns vs. Milwaukee Bucks preview
The Bucks are in the NBA Finals for the first time since 1974.
The Suns are in the NBA Finals for the first time since 1993.
MIL/PHX Game 1: Tuesday – 9:00pm/et, ABC pic.twitter.com/Btm2BgqZRI
— NBA History (@NBAHistory) July 5, 2021
Both teams have scaled every obstacle in their way to set up the most unlikely NBA finals in recent history.
Journey to the NBA Finals so far
Hardly anyone could have predicted a Bucks vs Suns finals and even during the playoffs it still didn’t seem likely.
Milwaukee wasn’t expected to win the Eastern conference with the star-studded Brooklyn Nets and first-seeded Philadelphia 76ers in their way. They failed to reach the finals two years in a row as the first seed, who would have thought they’d do it this year as the third seed.
The Suns have made the #NBAFinals presented by YouTube TV in their first playoff appearance in 11 seasons.
☀️ Game 1 at 9 PM ET on ABC ☀️ pic.twitter.com/OKalG7ZjWo
— NBA (@NBA) July 6, 2021
Phoenix on the other hand was just… Phoenix… nobody expected them to finish second in the competitive Western Conference. And they didn’t stop there, the Suns went on to beat the Lakers, Nuggets, and Clippers to enter the finals. Playing in their first postseason in 11 years, a team of young players led by 35-year old Chris Paul are through to the NBA finals.
As a result, they have a chance to win their first-ever championship in 53 years of the franchise’s existence.
The Phoenix Suns took what they had last year, built on their amazing 8-0 run in the bubble, and added the experience of Paul to complement their budding young core.
That momentum took them to a .708 win percentage in the 2020-21 regular season and the franchise’s best playoff run in nearly thirty years.
Despite finishing second, they got the toughest possible first-round matchup and were widely expected to lose to the Lakers. However, they beat the Lakers in six games, partly thanks to injuries disrupting the flow of their opponents.
That trend continued in the next round, Phoenix swept the Denver Nuggets who were missing star point guard, Jamal Murray. And then they won the Western Conference finals, beating the Kawhi-less Clippers in six games.
As the Suns go into the NBA finals, history continues to repeat itself. Milwaukee is without two-time MVP, Giannis Antetokounmpo.
After following the league’s best records in the last two regular seasons with disappointing playoff runs, Milwaukee has redemption in sight.
All that stands in the way of that elusive NBA championship (their first since 1971) is the Phoenix Suns.
Milwaukee Bucks vs Phoenix Suns in the NBA Finals or the Eric Bledsoe derby as I like to call it. With Giannis, the Bucks are the clear favorites but without him, the scales are tipped in favor of the Suns.
Giannis Antetokounmpo listed doubtful for Game 1 of Bucks-Suns NBA Finals.
— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) July 6, 2021
Milwaukee played the last two games of their Eastern Conference finals against Atlanta without Giannis and they still looked quite good. Brook Lopez had more time in the paint as the go-to big man and played like it was 2013 again.
They also moved the ball around with more fluidity and created several open shots with Jrue Holiday playing more aggressively. But the Phoenix Suns are not the Atlanta Hawks, they’re a well-rounded team riding high on confidence. Regardless, Mike Budenholzer would certainly prefer to play with Giannis rather than without him.
The NBA finals will be a nerve-wracking series for those involved, except for Torrey Craig who gets a ring either way.
Regardless of who wins the 2021 NBA Finals, Torrey Craig will get a ring 😎
He started the season with the Bucks and is currently on the Suns pic.twitter.com/55xbNt72Vi
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) July 4, 2021
In conclusion, both teams have come a long way to reach this point, so whichever team wins it would be fully deserving champions (none of that ‘Mickey Mouse’ ring nonsense NBA Twitter trolls.)
This season has proven that predictions can be tricky, so it’s almost pointless to make one now, just prepare for a great series.
Anyone not named Eric Bledsoe can sit back and enjoy some great basketball, which has the potential to go the distance.