Saturday evening, a Giannis Antetokounmpo-less Milwaukee Bucks and Trae Young-less Atlanta Hawks battled it out in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference Finals. The Bucks had plenty to work with as Kris Middleton continued to lead the way with 32 points, 23 in the third quarter in the Bucks’ 118-107 win over the Hawks.
The NBA Finals are now set as the Eastern Conference champion Milwaukee Bucks go up against the Western Conference champion Phoenix Suns. The series begins on Tuesday, July 6 in Phoenix. Tipoff is at 8 p.m. central. The series will go from July 6 through July 22. The July 22 is only needed if the series goes a full seven games.
Both these teams have paved different paths to the finals but have now made it. Bucks have been a contender for a few years now but fallen short each time. Suns on the hand are a young team with veteran leadership looking to have officially turned a corner from their losing years. Both teams have star power with the Bucks having Antetokounmpo, Middleton, and Jrue Holiday and the Suns having Devin Booker, Chris Paul, and Deandre Ayton.
A couple other similarities include:
- Both teams founded in 1968.
- Both teams making their third NBA Finals appearance.
- Both teams trying to end a drought.
Unlike recent years, neither of these have been frequent Finals flyers. The Suns last made it in 1993 and the Bucks in 1974. This year, Suns are trying to win their first title in team history while the Bucks are hoping to end a 50-year drought. Bucks last won a title in 1971 when NBA legend and HOFer Kareem Abdeul-Jabbar was their star player and NBA Final MVP.