The team that will lift the Larry O’Brien trophy should delight a city that longs for the biggest prize in basketball.
The best-of-seven playoff series starts with Game 1 on Tuesday July 6 in Phoenix and Game 2 is Thursday before the teams fly to Milwaukee for Games 3 and 4. If necessary, Game 5 will be played. Saturday, July 17, match 6 on Tuesday July 20 and match 7 on Thursday July 22.
While in previous years a cast of established superstar names have appeared in the finals to fight, this year has a sense of freshness about it.
No player from either team has won an NBA ring before, and the Suns’ Jae Crowder is the only player to have made the final before – where he lost to the Los Angeles Lakers on last year while with the Miami Heat.
And while the teams themselves will have the chance to hoist a championship banner for the first time or the first time in a long time, there are also more personal stories to watch out for as the climax of the NBA season begins.
The NBA’s two-time MVP hypertensive his knee in Game 4 of the Eastern Conference Finals against the Atlanta Hawks, missing the last two games of the series.
Although reports have indicated he could have played Game 7 if it had been necessary and head coach Mike Budenholzer said it was a “day to day” situation, health Antetokounmpo could change the outcome of the series depending on whether or not he can speak at a level worthy of his talent.
Other Bucks stars Khris Middleton and Jrue Holiday have shown their own abilities in his absence to help Milwaukee pass a tough Hawks team.
On the other side, 36 and in his 16th season in the league, Suns star goalie Chris Paul finally has a chance to win an elusive ring.
Paul has been one of the top playmakers since joining the league in 2005, having been named All-Star 11 times, selected 10 times to an All-NBA team and voted Rookie of the Year in 2006.
However, due to bad luck, injuries and facing better teams, he never reached the promised land of the Finals.
But after pairing up with rising superstars Devin Booker and Deandre Ayton, Paul brought composure and experience to a young team, having worked his way past the defending Lakers champion, among others, on his way to the final.
And of course, the best player in the series will be crowned MVP of the NBA Finals. The prize tends to go to a player on the winning team, but has already been given to a losing player.
This has only happened once in NBA history, as Jerry West won first prize in 1969 after his LA Lakers lost to the Boston Celtics in their seven-game streak.
So when the ball is knocked down in Game 1 on Tuesday, keep your eyes peeled because there are a lot of stories to follow.
Here’s where you can watch the action:
Africa: Canal + Africa / ESPN
China: QQ.com/Migu/Guangdong TV / Fujian TV / GreatSports Channel / SiTV
India: Star Sports
Italy: Sky Sport NBA
Japan: NBA Rakuten
Middle East: beIN Sports
Singapore: Hub Sports 2
South Africa: e.tv
South America: ESPN
Turkey: S Sport
UK: Sky Sports
United States: ABC
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