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2021 NBA Finals Game 1 Open Thread

Chat about the first game of the championship round here.

2021 NBA Finals - Practice and Media Availability
Chris Paul and Devin Booker are ready to lead their team into the NBA Finals.
Photo by Barry Gossaage/NBAE via Getty Images

Game 1 of the 2021 NBA Finals is on tonight at 9 p.m. ET between the Phoenix Suns, the Western Conference Champions and the Milwaukee Bucks, the Eastern Conference Champions. You can watch the game on ABC. In the D.C. area, it’s on WJLA-TV, or Channel 7.

The Suns specifically are going to their third NBA Finals and first since 1993 when Charles Barkley and Kevin Johnson were part of a squad that could have very well won the championship, if not for a Chicago Bulls team led by Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen who won their third championship in as many years.

This time, the Suns are the favorites, led by their All-Star point guard Chris Paul, who’s now 36 years old and shooting guard Devin Booker. At the post DeAndre Ayrton has been their top option, averaging 16.2 points and 11.8 rebounds per game in the postseason.

The Bucks have also made the NBA Finals for the first time since the 1973-74 season as the Western Conference champions when they lost the World Championship (that’s what the Finals were called then) to the Boston Celtics 4-3. They moved to the Eastern Conference in the 1980-81 NBA season. Milwaukee has had some great teams in the early 2000s and recently, but this time, we’ll see if they can go all the way and win their second championship, after 1971 when they defeated the then-Baltimore Bullets (now the Wizards) in 1971 in a 4-0 series sweep.

Today’s Bucks are led by two-time NBA MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo with forward Khris Middleton and guard Jrue Holiday forming a strong trio of their own. Antetokoumpo suffered a knee injury in Game 4 of the Eastern Conference Finals and hasn’t played since. As of 5:30 p.m. ET on Tuesday, his status was questionable. I think he’ll play tonight by the time this thread is out.

You can check out more analysis on SB Nation’s Bright Side of the Sun, our Suns blog and Brew Hoop, our Bucks blog for more.

Given that both of these teams haven’t been in the Finals in quite some time, it should be no surprise that most of the players haven’t won a championship before. Actually, I’ll take this a step further, no players on the Suns or Bucks have won a championship before. Even Paul, the most experienced player of the two teams, has never played in an NBA Finals until now. The only player who has played in an NBA Finals is Suns forward Jae Crowder, who was on the 2019-20 Heat team that lost to the Los Angeles Lakers last year in the Orlando bubble.

I’ve always felt that the Bucks would win the NBA Finals at the end of the day, but this Suns team seems to have some “destiny” to win it as well given that Paul is on the squad. And enough with my rambling about the Finals. Chat about the game here and enjoy some great basketball.