By Tessa Jackson
The NBA Finals are on! At the beginning of the year everyone was anticipating a matchup between the Brooklyn Nets and the Los Angeles Lakers, two teams built by all stars Kyrie Irving and LeBron James, respectively. I could not be happier to report that instead of that, we are watching a matchup between two small market teams in the Phoenix Suns and the Milwaukee Bucks.
The Bucks haven’t won a championship since 1971 and haven’t made the finals since 1974. They’ve been building a team around Giannis Antetokounmpo, “the Greek Freak,” since they drafted him in 2013 and have been dominant in the regular season since 2016; they were first in the Eastern Conference in the 2018-2019 and 2019-2020 seasons. But they haven’t done so well in the playoffs.
The Suns have never won a championship and have only made the finals twice, in 1976 and 1993. But unlike the Bucks, who have been almost good enough for years, the Suns have come out of nowhere. It was just last year that Draymond Green of the Golden State Warriors said that the Sun’s star, Devin Booker, needs to get out of Phoenix because he will never win a championship there.
It seems like their run started last year in the NBA bubble, when the Suns went 8-0 in the restart of the season that was paused due to the pandemic. They still didn’t make the playoffs but they may have caught the attention of veteran, Chris Paul, who ended up joining the team in the offseason. This is Paul’s 16th season in the NBA
and his first Final. He’s become the backbone of the team and it’s hard to imagine they could have come this far without him.
Fun fact reported by The Athletic’s John Hollinger, three seasons ago former Suns player Eric Bledsoe cryptically tweeted “I don’t want to be here” shortly after the Suns lost their home opener by 48 and went on to a 21-61 season. Now two teams that Bledsoe once played for are battling it out for a Championship; I bet he’s wishing he had been a little more patient.
Game 1 took place on Tuesday night and the Suns pretty much ran the Bucks. Chris Paul led the night with 32 points and the Suns DeAndre Ayton had 22 points and 19 rebounds. Their star, Devin Booker, finished with a modest 27 points. The Bucks, who were losing by double digits for most of the game, cut the lead to seven in the fourth quarter when they switched Giannis over to center. Maybe they will do this again. Whatever they decide, they are going to have to do something because the Suns look amazing. Game 2 is Thursday, July 8, Game 3 is on Sunday the 11th, and Game 4 is next Wednesday the 14th.
If basketball is not your thing, you can also check out the Wimbledon Finals this Saturday. Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic are still in the running, and you’ll know by the time you read this if we will be seeing a matchup between those two in the Finals. Federer is a fan favorite, but the 39-year-old is going to have a tough time beating Hubert Hurkacz. (Editors note: Federer lost in three sets, going down 6-0 in the third.)
We also have a UFC fight this Saturday between Conor McGregor, who has only fought three times since 2018 and Dustin Poirier, who beat him in January. McGregor was truly great back in 2016, and coming back after retiring will have a big impact on his legacy. Will he complete the upset and become one of the greatest of all time? Or
will he be wishing he would have stuck to selling whiskey?