/NBA finals 2021 Game 1: Phoenix Suns v Milwaukee Bucks – The Guardian

NBA finals 2021 Game 1: Phoenix Suns v Milwaukee Bucks – The Guardian


Preamble

The Los Angeles Lakers and the Boston Celtics… are not here, they were eliminated in the first round. So were the New York Knicks. . didn’t survive the playoffs, almost literally. The Miami Heat had a run to the Finals during the Bubble Season (which feels like centuries ago) but they couldn’t survive the first round, as the Milwaukee Bucks dismantled them. Damian Lillard’s Portland Trail Blazers were a first-round casualty as well. The Philadelphia 76eers made it to the second round and no further. The Phoenix Suns had their way with the Los Angeles Clippers, who were the last team representing one of those few cities designated as “major markets.”

Now, Bucks vs. Suns was probably not the result that TV advertisers were hoping for. Well, who cares about them? Ad rates be damned, basketball fans are going to get a battle between the two best teams in the league especially if Giannis Antetokounmpo can still play despite his hyperextended knee.

There are a lot of narratives going on here. The Bucks haven’t won the title since (Guardian contributor!) Kareem Abdul-Jabbar helped them beat the Washington Bullets in the 1971 Finals. (Yes, the Wizards were the Bullets back then, Washington teams have a thing where they have to keep changing their names.)

Meanwhile, the Suns have somehow never won a championship, even though they have had their moments in the, well, Sun. Charles Barkley was really the player who first brought the Suns national attention during their 1990s run, but he ended up being remembered as one of the greatest players never to win a ring before becoming the NBA’s most charmingly useless studio analyst. Then head coach Mike D’Antoni and two-time league MVP Steve Nash revolutionized basketball with the Seven Seconds Or Less Suns… but they still couldn’t shake off their playoff woes. If they finally win the championship it will be redemption for both the franchise and Point God Chris Paul, an NBA Hall of Fame player who had never even reached the Finals until now.

Or, maybe the Bucks manage to pull off the upset. Even without Giannis, the Bucks were able to put away the Atlanta Hawks in Game 6 in a rather decisive fashion. They will be a worthy opponent, so Phoenix shouldn’t be looking at all the odds showing they are the favorites here.

So, we’re likely to have some good basketball here, no matter who is playing for these fairly deep teams, so we hope you follow along with us. As always, if you’d like to contribute to today’s liveblog just email us (hunter.felt.freelance@theguardian.com) or tweet us (to @HunterFelt) and we’ll include your commentary as we go on. It’s the Milwaukee Bucks vs. the Phoenix Suns at Phoenix Suns Arena. The action isn’t supposed to start until 9:00 pm EST but we’ll be back before then. Stay tuned!

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