While offense has been highlighted in the NBA this season we have two teams in the Final which are known for their defense as the Milwaukee Bucks and Phoenix Suns rank first and second in that category during the postseason. However, both clubs posted top-10 offenses during the regular season.
The Bucks have something to prove here as they’ve recorded the best regular-season record in the NBA over the previous two campaigns and ran out of steam in the playoffs. Also, their star player Giannis Antetokounmpo has won two MVP awards but has no championship ring. Unfortunately, it’s currently unclear how much Antetokounmpo will be able to contribute in the series as he’s suffering a knee injury.
This is the first Final appearance for Phoenix since 1992-1993 and they’ve yet to capture an NBA championship. Meanwhile, Milwaukee last played in the Final in 1973-1974 and have one title to their name, which came in 1970-71.
The Suns went 51-21 in the regular season to finish second in the West and are 12-4 in the playoffs. They downed the Los Angeles Lakers in six outings in the first round, swept the Denver Nuggets in four games next and took care of the Los Angeles Clippers in six encounters in the Western Conference Final.
Phoenix has gone 6-2 at home and on the road so far in the postseason and has been the best second-quarter squad by outscoring the opposition by 13.5 points per 100 possessions during the second stanza. They’re also 11-1 when ahead at the half. The Suns have shot 86.2 per cent from the free throw line in the payoffs which would be the best in league history for a squad with a minimum 250 attempts if they can keep it up.
Deandre Ayton ranks third in the postseason with his 11.8 rebounds per contest and is ranked second with 11 double-doubles. Devin Booker has gone 105 for 115 in free throws for a 91.3 per cent success rate, which is the best in the postseason for players who have made a minimum 75 attempts. Surprisingly, the Bucks’ Antetokounmpo ranks last at 53.7 per cent. Cameron Johnson leads the postseason with 15 corner 3-pointers on just 27 attempts while Mikal Bridges is tied for second place by hitting 14 of 41.
The Milwaukee Bucks went 46-26 in the regular season to place third in the East and have gone 12-5 in the playoffs. They made it to the Final by ousting the Miami Heat in the minimum four games in the first round and then taking care of the Brooklyn Nets in the full seven games. They met the Atlanta Hawks in the Eastern Conference Final and took it in six contests.
The Bucks have been the best first-quarter side in the postseason by outscoring their opponents by 15.0 points per 100 possessions during the games’ opening 12 minutes. They also lead the playoffs with a 53.1 per cent total rebounding percentage. They’ve been on the giving and receiving end of some blowouts as well as they suffered a 39-point defeat but have posted a pair of 34-point victories.
The team ranks 14th in the playoffs in both 3-point percentage at 31.1 per cent and and in free throw percentage at just 71.3 per cent. They also rank last with at only 1.4 secondary assists per contest.
Giannis Antetokounmpo ranks first in the postseason at 12.7 rebounds per outing and with his 13 double-doubles. In addition, he’s number with his 20.1 points per game in the paint and with 49 dunks. Jrue Holiday ranks fifth at 3.1 deflections per game and is second with 1.4 recovered loose balls per outing while Brook Lopez ranks third at 1.8 blocks per game. Khris Middleton is ranked second in the playoffs in free throes at 88.6 per cent and as mentioned earlier, Antetokounmpo is last at 53.7 per cent.
The two teams met twice during the 2020-21 regular season with the Suns winning 126-125 at home on Feb. 10th and 129-128 in overtime in Milwaukee on April 19th. Milwaukee led the first meeting by 16 points at one juncture and led the second meeting by nine points early in the fourth quarter. Both games were won by Devin Booker free throws and the Bucks’ Antetokounmpo averaged 40 points in the two outings while scoring 47 in the first game.
With the first-game tip-off scheduled for Tuesday, July 6th in Phoenix, we see that Bet365 lists Phoenix at 20/37 to take the title with Milwaukee at 33/20. There are numerous other individual and team bets available for the series and each game at Bet365 such as the correct scores, total games and series MVP. Also, be sure to check out the live in-play wagering action once each game gets underway.