The 2021 NBA Finals are set as the Milwaukee Bucks will take on the Phoenix Suns for the 2020-2021 NBA Championship. It’s been quite a ride for both teams to make it to the NBA Finals as both squads have dealt with significant injuries to star players.
Both teams have significantly benefited from injuries on their opponent’s side as the Suns knocked off the Lakers without Anthony Davis and the Clippers without Kawhi Leonard. The Bucks, of course, went to overtime against the Nets in Game 7 without Kyrie Irving and a compromised James Harden. But that doesn’t take away from these two teams battling their bumps and bruises and making it to the Finals.
These are two of the best defensive teams in the NBA, which should make for an incredible matchup. Here is everything you need to know about the series, who to bet on and who will ultimately win the championship.
Bucks vs. Suns: 2021 NBA Finals
The status of two-time MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo looms large as he has missed the last two games for the Bucks due to a leg injury. If he were healthy and available to play, the Bucks would likely be massive favorites in this contest.
But that is not the case. The Phoenix Suns are currently (-190) at BetMGM to win the series.
That isn’t necessarily a knock on the Suns, though, as they were a fantastic team during the regular season, finishing with the second-best record in the Western Conference.
This is a series between two incredibly well-rounded teams that can win games in a variety of ways. But look for the team that can minimize turnovers and wins the rebounding game to ultimately hold the Larry O’Brien trophy at the end of the series.
If you want to bet on the Milwaukee Bucks to win the 2021 NBA Finals, BetMGM lists them at (+155).
Milwaukee Bucks: Keys To Victory
If Giannis Antetokounmpo can come back at any point in this series, he would provide a significant problem for the Suns as they have nobody on the roster that can match his size and athleticism. But the Bucks will likely need to find other ways to win this series.
Milwaukee loves to push the pace of play, while Chris Paul and the Suns like to get into their halfcourt sets on offense. If the Bucks can turn this game into a track meet and start playing downhill, the Suns tend to get a bit sloppy and frenetic. Look for the Bucks to keep the pace of play up and run as much as possible on offense.
The Bucks will also need someone besides Khris Middleton to help on offense. Middleton was outstanding in Games 3, 5 and 6. But that can be the problem with him, at times. Too often, his offensive game can come and go and that’s why the Bucks need someone else to shoulder the load on offense.
If the Bucks are going to win this series, they will need Jrue Holiday to play like he did in Games 5 and 6 of the Eastern Conference Finals. In those two games, Holiday averaged 23 PPG and 11 assists. That type of offensive playmaker will need to show up for every game if the Bucks want to have a chance of “stealing” this series. There are ways that the Bucks can win without Giannis, but they will need some of their other stars and role players to have monster performances.
Phoenix Suns: Keys To Victory
What the Suns can’t afford to do in this series is turn these games into a one-on-one contest. As great as Chris Paul and Devin Booker are at creating and making tough shots, they are at their best when they utilize ball movement and get everyone involved in the offense. When they move the basketball from side to side, they can create wide-open looks for three-point shooters and easy dunks for Deandre Ayton.
Speaking of Ayton, he might be the biggest key of all for the Suns. In the Western Conference Finals against the Clippers, Ayton averaged nearly 18 points per game on 69 percent shooting. But that isn’t the most important stat for Ayton. The former No. 1 pick averaged 13.7 rebounds per game, 4.5 on the offensive end. If he can dominate the boards and get the bigs for the Bucks in foul trouble, the Suns should have no problem putting the Bucks away. Phoenix needs its emerging star center to play like one during this matchup.
If Giannis is out, the Suns are the clear-cut better team in this series. As long as they stick to what got them here and play excellent defense and unselfish basketball on the other end of the court, they will be just fine.
2021 NBA Finals Championship Betting Picks
2021 NBA Finals Predictions
If Giannis Antetokounmpo were healthy, I think the Bucks would be a lock to win this series, and he would be a nearly (-200) favorite to win the 2021 NBA Finals MVP. But his health remains a significant question mark, and we have no idea if and how much he will play in this series.
For that reason, I am taking the Suns to win the championship, likely in six games.
Even without Antetokounmpo, the Bucks should still win a few games at home and stretch this to six games. But this is undoubtedly the Suns’ series to lose. And if they win, it will likely be due to Chris Paul, who is playing in his first-ever NBA Finals. I fully expect him to rise to the stage and play some of the best basketball of his career.
He is currently the favorite to win the 2021 NBA Finals MVP, and it’s one of my favorite bets.
Phoenix Suns win 2021 NBA Championship (+190)
Phoenix Suns win 2021 NBA Finals 4-2 (+450)
Chris Paul Wins 2021 NBA Finals MVP (+140)
Bucks vs. Suns NBA Finals 2021 Schedule
- Game 1: Tuesday, July 6 at 9:00 PM ET
- Game 2: Thursday, July 8 at 9:00 PM ET
- Game 3: Sunday, July 11 at 8:00 PM ET
- Game 4: Wednesday, July 14 at 9:00 PM ET
- Game 5 (if necessary): Saturday, July 17 at 9:00 PM ET
- Game 6 (if necessary): Tuesday, July 20 at 9:00 PM ET
- Game 7 (if necessary): Thursday, July 22 at 9:00 PM ET