The NBA Finals are finally here, and quite surprisingly, we have two teams that not many NBA fans and analysts thought they would make it this far. The Phoenix Suns and Milwaukee Bucks came out of their respective conferences as champions, and now they’ll have an opportunity to win a title on the world’s most significant basketball scene.
The Suns will have home-court advantage in this series, which might prove beneficial since they haven’t lost many games at home all season long, including the playoffs. On top of that, the Suns are a great team on the road, which they proved several times in the playoffs, where a win on the opposing court means a lot for the dynamic of the series.
Heading into game 1 the Suns on paper look better, and the main reason is the absence of Giannis Antetokounmpo, who is still battling a hyperextended knee injury. He is listed as doubtful for Game 1, but the good news for the Bucks fans is that there is a high probability he will come back for the remainder of the series. That will be of utmost importance for the Bucks to have Giannis back soon because of his versatility on both ends of the floor.
Chris Paul and Devin Booker will once again be the backbone of the Suns’ offense as they were so far in the playoffs. The dynamic duo was brilliant offensively, but this time they will have a tough task going up against Jrue Holiday, who will most certainly guard Paul, and Khris Middleton will most likely do everything in his power to slow down Booker.
The Bucks have enough firepower even without Giannis, but every player on their roster will need to step up big time if they want to take game 1 from the Suns. Brook Lopez will be an X-factor in this series, and his matchup with DeAndre Ayton will be pivotal for the Bucks. Lopez evolved to a solid three-point shooter, which will be essential to get Ayton from inside the paint. This way, a lot of space can be free up for the Bucks slashers to get an easier look at the basket. Against a team like the Suns, you need to get as many easy points as you can if you want to put the pressure on them.
Even though the Bucks are a solid team, the Suns showcased a lot more so far in the playoffs, and without Giannis, they’re not being given great odds to win Game 1. The rest of the series is pretty hard to guess who will come out as the winner because if Giannis will be at 100 percent, the Suns will have a tough time matching up against him. Luckily for them, Giannis was exposed in this playoffs as a terrible shooter, but he does other things incredibly well, and his versatility is like no other.
This series will be all about matchups and proper adjustments, which we haven’t seen much from Bucks coach Mike Budenholzer. On the other hand, Monty Williams has showcased incredible knowledge and savviness as a coach, which is also an essential factor in this series.
The Suns have the upper hand in this series, and it’s hard to make any predictions this early, but Chris Paul is on a mission to win his first championship at the age of 36, and there is no doubt he will do everything in his power to will the Suns to the promised land. As fans, the only thing we can hope for is an exciting series