Devin Booker and the Phoenix Suns begin their journey for an NBA championship in Game 1 of the finals on Tuesday night against the Milwaukee Bucks. (Photo by Jevone Moore/Icon Sportswire)
- The Bucks and Suns meet in Game 1 of the NBA Finals on Tuesday
- Phoenix enters as a 5.5-point favorite on home court
- Get the odds, injury report, preview, and prediction below
After a long and grueling regular season and playoff haul, the NBA Finals are finally here. The Milwaukee Bucks and Phoenix Suns will take center stage in Game 1 on Tuesday night in the desert.
Milwaukee just wrapped up the conference finals on Saturday night as they took care of Trae Young and the Atlanta Hawks in six games, despite being without Giannis Antetokounmpo for the final two contests of the series. The Suns also beat the Los Angeles Clippers in six as they wrapped things up last Wednesday.
The Greek Freak’s status for Tuesday is up in the air but read on to find out more about his situation.
Bucks vs Suns Game 1 Odds
|Team||Spread||Moneyline||Total at FanDuel|
|Milwaukee Bucks||+5.5 (-110)||+190||Ov 218.5 (-110)|
|Phoenix Suns||-5.5 (-110)||-230||Un 218.5 (-110)|
Odds as of July 5th.
The Bucks had a normal practice in Phoenix on Monday, but Giannis wasn’t a participant. According to TNT’s Jared Greenberg, he was actually working out at a private gym in front of members of Milwaukee’s medical team and personnel.
Giannis is working out at a private gym to determine his status for Game 1 of the Finals, per @JaredSGreenberg
He has made “significant progress” with his hyperextended knee
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) July 5, 2021
The significant progress part is definitely a good sign considering he does have a hyperextended knee from Game 4 of the last round. At this point, he’s listed as doubtful for Game 1, per the Athletic’s Sham Charania. If Antetokounmpo is in fact out, expect Bobby Portis to get another start at power forward.
The Suns, on the other hand, have no injuries to report for Game 1.
Bucks vs Suns Projected Lineups
|Jrue Holiday||PG||Chris Paul|
|Khris Middleton||SG||Devin Booker|
|PJ Tucker||SF||Mikal Bridges|
|Bobby Portis||PF||Jae Crowder|
|Brook Lopez||C||Deandre Ayton|
Bucks Need Giannis Against Suns
Milwaukee may have been able to get past the Hawks without their superstar, but the Suns are a whole different beast. They are a two-headed monster capable of picking apart the Bucks if Antetokounmpo’s length isn’t on the court.
While it does seem unlikely he’d be ready for Game 1, Giannis does have until Thursday for Game 2 to get right. Nevertheless, Mike Budenholzer’s team deserves credit for how they played against Atlanta with the Greek Freak sidelined. Jrue Holiday and Khris Middleton stepped up heavily as they both dropped 25+ in the final two games of that series.
Holiday, in particular, has been unleashed since Antetokounmpo went on the shelf. The veteran guard is scoring at a high level from all over the floor and serving as Milwaukee’s most efficient playmaker. Brook Lopez will be a handful for Deandre Ayton in the finals as well, erupting for 33 in Game 6 of the last round and serving as a cog in the paint.
Top 5 Plays of the Eastern Conference Finals!!
Presented by @BMOHarrisBank: pic.twitter.com/WfOJANfSJj
— Milwaukee Bucks (@Bucks) July 5, 2021
While the Bucks did collapse at times defensively against the Hawks, they will need to make sure that doesn’t happen in this Phoenix matchup because Devin Booker and co. will absolutely feast.
Suns Are Rolling
The Suns are certainly one of the best stories of this season. To go from playoff outcast to championship contender is truly amazing as they head into the finals as a slight favorite.
Phoenix knocked out LeBron and the Lakers in round one, then swept Nikola Jokic’s Denver Nuggets. The conference finals were always seen as a tough task even though the Clippers didn’t have Kawhi Leonard, but the Suns handled it like true professionals, taking down Ty Lue’s squad in six.
Chris Paul now heads to his first finals ever and has been arguably the most important player on this team. The veteran torched the Clippers for 41 points in the series clincher and really seems to be finding his scoring touch right now after previously battling a shoulder injury earlier in the postseason.
𝐋𝐎𝐂𝐊𝐄𝐃 𝐈𝐍 | #RallyTheValley pic.twitter.com/qukl62tthr
— Phoenix Suns (@Suns) July 5, 2021
Phoenix has so many weapons though other than CP3. Devin Booker has arrived in style in his very first playoffs, while the likes of Jae Crowder, Deandre Ayton, Mikal Bridges, and Cam Payne have embraced their roles perfectly. The Suns are a force to be reckoned with, but the Bucks will definitely be no easy task, especially when Giannis is back on the floor.
Phoenix is absolutely stellar on home court, losing just twice in the entire postseason in front of their fans. During the regular season, they also went 27-9 when playing in the desert.
With Antetokounmpo doubtful for Tuesday, the Bucks will have a tall task ahead in winning this contest. Take the Suns to pull out a victory in Game 1 of the NBA Finals and cover the spread.
Pick: Phoenix Suns -5.5 (-110)
Quinn Allen is a sports journalist, with a background and education in broadcast journalism (BCIT ’17). He writes about European Football, Basketball, and Baseball for numerous sites across the globe.