The year, the NBA Finals are an interesting and unheard-of matchup between two teams that have not won the Championship in the past.
We’re used to the same names in the later parts of the NBA playoffs and this particular matchup is taking place later in the year than most others. There are some interesting facts that we can discuss regarding the players and teams in the finals this year.
Chris Paul has Waited a Long Time
Even though he has been one of the best point guards in the NBA for a long time, this is the first time Chris Paul hasplayed in the NBA Finals. It’s not that he has never been in the playoffs, he has the third-most games in NBA history without reaching the finals. Now in his 16thseason, this first trip to the finals is a historic mark for Chris Paul.
Giannis has had Impressive Success Against Phoenix this Year
In the two games that the Bucks and Suns were matched up, Giannis Antetokounmpo averaged 40 points on over 60 percent shooting. No other player since Michael Jordan in 1992-93 averaged as high of a percentage. Incidentally, another interesting fact is that the Bulls played the Suns in the Finals after that season as well.
NBA Finals Games Tend to Last Longer when the Suns are Involved
Games played in the western time zones during the finals typically start late and end later. While we expect most games to last about 2 ½ hours, there have been two triple-overtime games in Finals history and Phoenix has been involved in both of them. There have also been three double-overtime games in Finals history and Milwaukee was involved in one of them.
Very Few Players have been to the Finals
The only player on either teamto make the NBA Finals is Jae Crowder. There is a family connection when it comes to this series. While no players have made the finals, Justin Holiday and Kostas Antetokounmpo both have been to the finals. These men are brothers to Jrue Holiday and Giannis Antetokounmpo, both of whom play for the Bucks. The lack of experience is a first for the finals this year.
A Winning Record for One Team
Even if the Bucks find a way to win the NBA Championship, they won’t have a winning playoff record during their all-time history. The Suns, on the other hand, will have a winning record if they have a lead in this series at any time. They enter this series with a 145-145 postseason record while the Bucks enter this series with an overall record of 138-145.
The Calendar Keeps Changing
We know that the lateness of the season last year caused the late start of this season. Interestingly enough, this will be the seventh calendar month in which the NBA finals havebeen played. Months other than July that have held this series are March, April, May, June, September, and October. We typically expect this series to be played in June, but now we get to see another bit of history being made.
Winning the Division Title Does Matter
While we don’t often discuss winners of the division titles in the NBA because the teams are seeded based on record alone, this factor does matter. Every NBA champion since 2011 has been a division winner and that will continue. The Milwaukee Bucks won the Central Division and Phoenix won the Pacific Division this year, which means a division winner being crowned will once again be a fact.
3 Vs 2 has Favored the 3
The Bucks were the three-seed in the East and the Suns were the two-seed in the West. There have been three previous times this matchup of 3 vs 2 has taken place in the NBA Finals. All three times, the series winner became the thirdseed. This could favor the Bucks or it could mean the Suns make even more history by being the first two-seed to beat athree-seed in this series.
Both Teams Need to Keep Things Close
While that would make sense regardless of the teams playing, both Milwaukee and Phoenix have been successful with a lead of at least ten points. The Suns are 11-0 if they have had a double-digit lead while the Bucks are 10-1 over the same time. Similar stats cover the season and comebacks for both teams have been rare. Both teams in the NBA Finals to keep things close.