That would be because in the most memorable occasion between the teams, Phoenix and Milwaukee were involved in a coin flip, a long, long time ago.
The year was 1969 and Phoenix finished 16-66 in the West while Milwaukee was the bottom-feeder in the East at 27-55.
The Bucks won the coin toss for the first pick in the NBA draft that year and took a center from UCLA named Lew Alcindor. Phoenix went second and chose Neal Walk, another center from Miami (Fla).
In his second season as a Buck, Alcindor. who changed his name to Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, led Milwaukee to its lone NBA championship This would be the 50th anniversary of that title.
Phoenix, meanwhile, has yet to win an NBA crown.
And now the teams meet in the NBA Finals, which start Tuesday. You can bet on every game and find many other options at BetUS.
THE FINALS IS SET!
Bucks. Suns. Who ya got? 👀 pic.twitter.com/XQYkejZf6C
SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) July 4, 2021
Phoenix Suns vs. Milwaukee Bucks
- Game 1: Tuesday, July 6 | Milwaukee at Phoenix, 9 ET, ABC
- Game 2: Thursday, July 8 | Milwaukee at Phoenix, 9 ET, ABC
- Game 3: Sunday, July 11 | Phoenix at Milwaukee, 8 ET, ABC
- Game 4: Wednesday, July 14 | Phoenix at Milwaukee, 9 ET, ABC
- Game 5: Saturday, July 17 | Milwaukee at Phoenix, 9 ET, ABC (if necessary)
- Game 6: Tuesday, July 20 | Phoenix at Milwaukee, TBD, ABC (if necessary)
- Game 7: Thursday, July 22 | Milwaukee at Phoenix, TBD, ABC (if necessary)
How They Got Here
The Bucks finished the Atlanta Hawks in six tough games to capture the Eastern Conference crown. They won the final contest 118-107 Saturday on the road. Superstar Giannis Antetokounmpo missed another contest with a hyperextended left knee suffered in Game 4 of the series.
Prior to ousting Atlanta, the Bucks went through Miami in four games and outlasted the Brooklyn Nets in a seven-game thriller.
The Suns advanced to the Finals by eliminating the Los Angeles Clippers, also in six games. Before that, they bounced the defending champion Los Angeles Lakers in six games and swept the Denver Nuggets in four.
Both meetings in the 2020-2021 NBA season were decided by one point and each came down to a made free throw by Devin Booker.
On Feb. 10, the Suns outlasted the Bucks 125-124 in the desert. On April 19, Phoenix came away with another one-point victory, 128-127 at Milwaukee, in overtime.
In the first meeting, Antetokounmpo had 47 points, 11 rebounds, and five assists but it was not enough to offset a combined 58 points and 10 assists by Chris Paul and Booker.
Phoenix outscored Milwaukee 27-23 in the final quarter to escape. Booker made a 3-pointer with 2:30 left to put the Suns up 124-116 but the Bucks pulled to 124-122 on Khris Middleton’s 3. An Antetokounmpo dunk tied it at 124 with 50 seconds left. Booker made a free throw with 32 seconds left.
The rematch saw Antetokounmpo, Jrue Holiday and Middleton go for 84 points, 19 rebounds and 15 assists in the loss. Phoenix had four players who scored more than 20 points, led by Booker’s 24.
Booker made the first of two free throws with 0.3 seconds left after a controversial foul call on Milwaukee’s P.J. Tucker.
There were 24 lead changes and 16 ties in the overtime thriller.
What to Expect?
These teams are evenly matched as their regular-season meetings show. However, if Antetokounmpo is unable to go in the Finals, there is a major swing toward the Suns. It’s unclear if Antetokounmpo will be available for Tuesday’s series opener.
The Bucks have not been to the Finals since 1973-74 when they lost to the Boston Celtics.
Phoenix, meanwhile, has not been to the title series since 1992-93. Prior to that, they were in the Finals in 1976, where they also lost to the Celtics. One of the games in that series was a remarkable, triple-overtime drama at the old Boston Garden.