Although the Los Angeles Lakers were unable to defend their championship title, they can take some solace in knowing that the team that beat them is representing the Western Conference.
The Phoenix Suns are making their first trip to the Finals in 28 years after defeating the L.A. Clippers in six games. The Suns have had the advantage of being the healthiest team in the playoffs, but that should not diminish their accomplishment and now get a chance to win the franchise’s first NBA Championship.
On the other side of the matchup is the Milwaukee Bucks who beat the Atlanta Hawks in six games, impressively winning Game 6 without Giannis Antetokounmpo, who is nursing a knee injury. The Hawks had a hobbled Trae Young, who sprained his ankle in Game 4, but the Bucks managed to overcome their star’s injury to earn themselves a Finals berth.
Because of the condensed schedule, both teams do not get much rest before the 2021 NBA Finals. The NBA released the Finals schedule, with Game 1 beginning on Tuesday, July 6:
Here’s the complete NBA Finals schedule starting with Game 1 on Tues. July 6: pic.twitter.com/i2iXjE57qn
— Ryan Ward (@RyanWardLA) July 4, 2021
The Sun and Bucks make for an interesting Finals matchup as both are solid defensive teams who value 3-point shooting. Although Milwaukee matches up well on paper against Phoenix, the health of Antetokounmpo may be the deciding factor in the series.
Injuries have really derailed this year’s playoffs, with Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James being the most critical of the league’s insistence to finish the season before the 2020 Tokyo Olympics begin. Despite the absence of stars from this year’s postseason, the Finals should be filled with intrigue and drama and it will be exciting to see who is crowned the 2021 NBA Champion.
Shaquille O’Neal sees streak come to an end
One of the more interesting tidbits of this year’s playoffs is that Shaquille O’Neal saw an incredible streak of his end. With the Suns eliminating the L.A. Clippers, O’Neal’s streak of 37 consecutive NBA Finals featuring a former teammate of his was snapped. Rajon Rondo and O’Neal played together with the Boston Celtics in what would be the big man’s final season in the NBA.
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