Our series of articles making sure you know when to watch former Marquette stars in the 2021 NBA Playoffs continues!
We’re putting together a Finals edition of our schedule series because 2012 Big East Player of the Year Jae Crowder and the Phoenix Suns knocked off the Los Angeles Clippers in six games in the Western Conference Finals. It’s been a minute since that series ended thanks to it starting long before the Eastern Conference Finals started, but Phoenix prevailed in the sixth game by a final score of 130-103. Chris Paul was spectacular in that game to push himself to his first ever NBA Finals appearance, going for 41 points, four rebounds, and eight assists.
It’s the first Finals appearance for the Suns since they fell to Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls in 1993, but it’s the second straight Finals for OUR GUY~! Jae Crowder! He got there last year in the bubble with Miami, but the multi-year deal he signed with Boston in 2015 expired and that led him to a free agent deal with the Suns. Crowder’s scoring (8.3/game) dipped in the West finals from the first two rounds of the playoffs, but his rebounding (5.3/game) and passing (2.0 assists/game) was right on track to do his part to help his team get this far.
As for their opponent in the NBA Finals? Well, there’s a tiny bit of Marquette flavor there as well if not outright representation. The East was won by the Milwaukee Bucks, giving the franchise that shares an arena with the Golden Eagles their first Finals appearance since 1974. The biggest question facing this year’s NBA Finals is the health of Bucks star Giannis Antetokounmpo, who missed Games 5 and 6 of the Eastern Conference Finals with a hyperextended knee. Can he play at all in the Finals? How much of the Greek Freak’s hyper-athletic style will be diminished if he’s playing on a knee that’s only 75%? Milwaukee won both of those games relatively easily, but Atlanta was the #5 seed in the East, while Phoenix was the #2 seed in the West and had a better record in the regular season than Milwaukee.
Here’s the whole schedule for the Finals!
Game 1: Tuesday, July 6, 8pm Central, ABC
Game 2: Thursday, July 8, 8pm Central, ABC
Game 3: Sunday, July 11, 7pm Central, ABC
Game 4: Wednesday, July 14, 8pm Central, ABC
Game 5: Saturday, July 17, 8pm Central, ABC
Game 6: Tuesday, July 20, 8pm Central, ABC
Game 7 (if necessary): Thursday, July 22, 8pm Central, ABC