The 2021 NBA Finals get underway on Tuesday evening, with the Phoenix Suns hosting the Milwaukee Bucks. Both teams needed six games to prevail in the Conference Finals, though the Suns finished off the Los Angeles Clippers three days prior to Milwaukee’s series-clinching victory over the Atlanta Hawks. Phoenix also enters with fewer question marks, as Milwaukee was missing two-time NBA MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo at the end of the Eastern Conference Finals, who is listed as doubtful for Game 1.
Though Milwaukee has been relatively optimistic in its public sentiment, there is a healthy dose of uncertainty with regard to Antetokounmpo’s status for the series. The talented big man suffered a knee injury against the Hawks and, while there is no structural damage according to multiple reports, he was listed as doubtful (and quickly ruled out) in the final two games against Atlanta. In Antetokounmpo’s stead, the Bucks received considerable contributions from Brook Lopez and Bobby Portis against the Hawks, and the perimeter duo of Khris Middleton and Jrue Holiday rose to the challenge.
All told, the Bucks are the No. 1 defensive team in the playoffs, giving up only 105.0 points per 100 possessions. That raises Milwaukee’s floor considerably, though they will need to convert more than 31 percent of their three-point attempts against the Suns, even if the Bucks have gotten by with that mark through the first three rounds. Ironically, the Suns are the No. 2 defensive team to this point in the postseason, and they have done their damage against a strong group of offenses. Phoenix leads the NBA Playoffs in effective field goal percentage allowed (49.8 percent), and the presence of Deandre Ayton and the physicality of players like Chris Paul and Jae Crowder provide reason for optimism against Milwaukee.
Offensively, the Suns are also firing on all cylinders. Paul enjoyed a dominant, 41-point explosion in Game 6 against the Clippers, and Devin Booker is fully capable of a similar eruption at any moment. The Suns are also one of the most efficient shooting teams in the NBA, both in the regular season and during the playoffs, and Phoenix’s proficiency at the free throw line (more than 86 percent in the postseason) could be key in a tight game.
Game 1 TV Info
Tip Time: Tuesday, June 6; 9 p.m. ET
TV Network: ABC
Game 1 Betting Lines (via DraftKings Sportsbook)
Series Prices: Suns (-200), Bucks (+165)
Spread: Suns -5.5 (-114), Bucks +5.5 (-107)
Total: Over 218.5 (-112), Under 218.5 (-109)
Money Line: Suns (-250), Bucks (+195)
Game 1 Player Scoring Props (via DraftKings Sportsbook)
Jae Crowder O/U 9.5 Points (Over -129/Under +101)
Brook Lopez O/U 14.5 (-113/-113)
Chris Paul O/U 20.5 (-113/-113)
Deandre Ayton O/U 15.5 (-127/+100)
Jrue Holiday O/U 22.5 (-105/-122)
Devin Booker O/U 27.5 (-117/-109)
Mikal Bridges O/U 11.5 (+105/-134)
Khris Middleton O/U 25.5 (-117/-109)