Game schedule for the 2021 NBA Finals

The game schedule for the 2021 NBA Finals, between the Phoenix Suns and Milwaukee Bucks, is as follows:

Suns vs. Bucks NBA Finals Game Schedule:

Game 1: Tue July 6, Bucks at Suns, 9PM ET, ABC

Game 2: Thu July 8, Bucks at Suns, 9PM ET, ABC

Game 3: Sun July 11, Suns at Bucks, 9PM ET, ABC

Game 4: Wed July 14, Suns at Bucks, 9PM ET, ABC

Game 5: Sat July 17, Bucks at Suns, 9PM ET, ABC (if necessary)

Game 6: Tue July 20, Suns at Bucks, 9PM ET, ABC (if necessary)

Game 7: Thu July 22, Bucks at Suns, 9PM ET, ABC (if necessary)

Giannis Antetokounmpo sustains hyperextended left knee, listed as Doubtful to play Game 5 vs. Hawks

There is relatively news from the Milwaukee Bucks on superstar forward Giannis Antetokounmpo.

Yesterday, he sustained a hyperextended left knee and will be listed as doubtful for Game 5 of the Eastern Conference Finals tomorrow night at Fiserv Forum. The injury occurred in the third period of the Bucks’ Game 4 loss at Atlanta last night.

The injury could have been a lot worse. It was scary to watch.

Antetokounmpo, 26, underwent an MRI and subsequent examination today by team physician Dr. Carole Vetter of the Froedtert & the Medical College of Wisconsin health network. The MRI confirmed the earlier diagnosis. Further updates will be provided as appropriate.

In 15 playoff games (all starts), Antetokounmpo is averaging 28.2 points (10th in NBA playoffs), 12.7 rebounds (1st in NBA playoffs) and 5.2 assists (16th in NBA playoffs) in 37.4 minutes per game.

Suns now one win away from reaching the 2021 NBA Finals

The Phoenix Suns are now one win away from reaching the 2021 NBA Final. Here’s Arizona Sports on it:

The Suns survived a game from the Dark Ages, from a bygone era when defenses ruled the earth. Rarely have style points mattered less.

They fought their emotions. They haggled with referees. They scored 84 points in a playoff game and somehow awaken on the doorstep of the NBA Finals.

Their victory in Game 4 of the Western Conference Finals was a masterpiece of winning ugly. No apologies necessary.

“That was a slugfest,” Suns head coach Monty Williams said. “That’s what playoff basketball is all about.”

What a bizarre triumph. What a strange game. Devin Booker ditched his mask after missing a layup. Chris Paul lost a shoe. Abdel Nader took Torrey Craig’s minutes, playing for the first time since mid-March. The two teams combined to miss 111 shots. They played four full minutes in the fourth quarter where neither team made a field goal.

It remains unclear when Clippers forward Kawhi Leonard may return to action. At this point, there is no reason to think it’ll be for tomorrow’s Game 5.

On the Nuggets the night they were eliminated from playoffs

Here’s the Denver Post on a scene after the Nuggets were escorted out of the playoffs:

On the sad night the Nuggets were swept from the NBA Playoffs, center Nikola Jokic and coach Michael Malone sat down together and poured out a beer to kill the pain.

“We wind up hanging out for like two hours after that game. Talking about the season, talking about the summer, talking about his horses, talking about everything,” Malone recalled Friday. With the gratitude of a coach blessed with a good gig, he described a conversation with the league MVP and his boss in the wake of a 125-118 home loss to Phoenix that ended a ballyhooed Denver season in frustration.

Franchise owner Josh Kroenke joined Malone and his star player.

“(He) was there with me (and) Nikola … for two hours,” Malone added. “When I went home that night, I said, ‘Man, we got a really unique setup here.’ We’re all disappointed, we lost, no one was happy. … But to have an owner and an MVP who are just so down to earth and committed to doing whatever it takes to be better and find ways to win a championship, those two hours were so important.”

Losing guard Jamal Murray to injury was a huge blow for the Nuggets. It wasn’t a surprise to see their postseason hopes cut short.

Murray, Jokic, Aaron Gordon and Michael Porter Jr. are all under contract at least through next season, while Will Barton has a player option this offseason. Paul Millsap and JaVale McGee are free agents.

Down 3-1 in WCF, Clippers coach Tyronn Lue says to take it one game at a time

The Suns lead the Clippers 3-1 in the Western Conference Finals, and L.A. remains without the services of forward Kawhi Leonard, which puts a massive amount of pressure on Paul George, Reggie Jackson and the rest of the squad. It’s a tough situation for the Clippers. Via the Los Angeles Times:

Coach Tyronn Lue said he isn’t fazed by the latest either, a 3-1 hole sealed in the Western Conference finals after an 84-80 loss to the Phoenix Suns on Saturday at Staples Center.

Lue is the only coach whose team has overcome a 3-1 deficit in a best-of-seven NBA Finals, a title path in which two of the final three victories came on the road, which would be the same scenario required for the Clippers to advance.

“Just focus on Monday’s game, that’s it,” Lue said. “Not focus on winning three games. Got to take it one game at a time, and that’s got to be our mind-set. We beat Utah and won four games in a row. So it’s very doable.

“We’ve just got to make sure we’re locked in and understand what we’re doing offensively. I think we’ve got to be more locked in offensively to beat this team.”

Suns beat Clippers 84-80 to take 3-1 Western Conference Finals lead

Los Angeles Times: Imperfect but impossible to count out in Game 4 of their Western Conference finals against Phoenix, the Clippers followed what had become their traditional playoff plot line Saturday inside Staples Center: tie themselves in knots by mistakes often of their own doing, then produce a daring, improbable escape to stay alive. Their 16-point deficit in the third quarter was down to just one with 10 minutes to play, the arena coming alive at the same time as the home team. But given shot after shot to even this series, one of the NBA’s top offenses missed over and over, sapped by a devastating combination of tired legs and woeful execution on their way to an 84-80 loss. The Clippers were 0 for 12 in the fourth quarter with a chance to tie or take the lead and did not make a field goal for more than five consecutive minutes in the quarter. And still, another 2-2 tie, after falling behind 2-0, was there for them.

OC Register: Phoenix will be playing for an opportunity to advance to the NBA Finals for the first time since 1993. With a Staples Center sellout crowd of 18,222 agonizing on its collective feet for much of the suffocating fourth quarter Saturday, when the Clippers shot 3 for 19 and the Suns went 4 for 19, and 0 for 6 and 0 for 3 from 3-point range, respectively. The Clippers were 0 for 12 on fourth-quarter shots that could’ve tied the score or given them the lead, the most such attempts without a make in the fourth quarter of a game over the past 25 postseasons. They drew within one point four times in the fourth, but they couldn’t ever pull in front. “We just couldn’t get over the hump,” Clippers coach Tyronn Lue said.

OC Register: In his second game back following COVID-19 health and safety protocols, Paul finished with 18 points and seven assists. Deandre Ayton finished with 19 points and a career playoff-high 22 rebounds. And Devin Booker scored a game-high 25 points on 8-for-22 shooting before fouling out in the final minute.

OC Register: The Clippers shot 32% (27 for 83) for the game; Phoenix was a smidge better at 36% (31 for 86). The Clippers made just five 3-pointers in the game – fewer than in all but one game this season. The Suns hit just four from deep.

Tyrese Maxey gave Sixers a big boost in Game 6 against Hawks

The Sixers won Game 6 on the road against the Hawks Friday, 104-99. The squad received a nice boost off the bench from Tyrese Maxey, who in 29 minutes put up 16 points and seven rebounds. Via the Philly Voice:

Picture this: you’re a 20-year-old rookie, you played just 1:20 in your team’s heartbreaking Game 5 loss, and your head coach comes to you and says you need to be ready to play real minutes in a do-or-die elimination game. How exactly do you handle the news and get ready for the biggest game of your life?

“Got done with shootaround, got me some pasta, called my mom, and then I went to sleep,” Maxey said after Philly’s Game 6 win. “Woke up, and then came to the gym. Was ready to go.”

If the pressure impacted him in any way, Maxey never showed it on Friday night, pouring in 16 points off of the bench and leading the entire team in plus/minus with a +12 for the evening. That was representative of how the game changed with Maxey on the floor, who provided the spark his teammates needed with a belly full of pasta and a mother’s wisdom as the fuel.

Hawks at Sixers Game 7 is Sunday at 8PM ET.

Hawks preparing for Game 7 on road vs. Sixers

Winning an NBA playoffs Game 7 on the road, and as an underdog, is a tough task, but that’s the Atlanta Hawks’ intended agenda Sunday night. Via the Atlanta Journal Constitution:

It comes down to one game, with the teams on even footing, aside from the No. 1-seed 76ers having home-court advantage over the No. 5-seed Hawks.

“To be honest, I don’t think any of it matters,” Hawks guard Trae Young said about the previous games in the Eastern Conference semifinal series, after the Hawks’ 104-99 loss Friday at State Farm Arena. “It’s one game. They came in and took care of business to try to force a Game 7, and all the other games don’t mean anything. This is one game. Both teams are in a win-or-go-home situation.” …

Several key players on the team, including Young, [Kevin] Huerter, John Collins, and Bogdan Bogdanovic (who exited Game 6 with right knee soreness) hadn’t been in the NBA playoffs, so this obviously will be their first time in a high-intensity elimination game on the road. On Saturday, McMillan said Bogdanovic’s knee was sore and he was receiving treatment, but it was too soon to know his status for Game 7.

Clippers forward Kawhi Leonard will miss Game 5 against Jazz

The Clippers, who are already without the services of center Serge Ibaka, now have a major injury problem at the forward spot. Via the LA Times:

When Kawhi Leonard was asked about his right knee Monday night following Game 4 of the Clippers’ second-round playoff series against Utah, he replied quickly, “I’m good.”

Because the answer was hard to hear through the videoconference’s feed, he was asked again.

“Yeah,” Leonard said. “Next question.”

Less than 48 hours later, with Game 5 of a deadlocked series looming Wednesday night in Salt Lake City, Leonard is not good. The forward, who has averaged more than 30 points, seven rebounds and four assists while shooting 57% in the postseason, is out for Game 5 because of a strained right knee suffered in the final five minutes of Game 4, when he was bumped by Utah’s Joe Ingles.

And from the OC Register:

Leonard – who was named to the All-NBA first team on Tuesday, his third such honor – reportedly could miss the rest of the best-of-seven series, which is tied, 2-2. He was not listed on the Clippers’ official injury report Tuesday, but according to ESPN, the 29-year-old forward told teammates Tuesday night to prepare for him to be out. The Athletic’s Shams Charania reported that the Clippers are fearful Leonard has suffered an ACL injury.

The five-time All-Star from Moreno Valley planted awkwardly on a drive to the basket in the fourth quarter of the Clippers’ 118-104 victory on Monday night at Staples. He grimaced following the play but remained in the game, missing both free throws he was awarded on the drive after a foul was assessed to Bojan Bogdanovic. Leonard remained in the game briefly after that, too, drawing another foul and making both of those free throws.

The Jazz remain without the services of point guard Mike Conley. But Leonard being out is a bigger problem for L.A. than Conley being out is for Utah.

Nets’ James Harden upgraded to Doubtful for Game 5 against Bucks

Will the Nets have James Harden available tonight? The answer could change between now and tipoff. But here’s the latest, via the New York Post:

With Brooklyn facing a desperate Eastern Conference semifinal Game 5, injured James Harden has been upgraded from out to doubtful Tuesday vs. Milwaukee.

“I don’t know if (he’s out) or not. I might have to wait,” Nets coach Steve Nash had said Monday. “He’s working out, so I have no idea if that means he has a chance for (Game 5) or not. I think there’s a plan behind the scenes that I don’t totally know what the deal is and then they’ll give us an update. But he’s working out.”

Harden went down just 43 seconds into this second-round series with what has been deemed right hamstring tightness. The Nets won the first two games without him at Barclays Center, but proceeded to drop the next two in Milwaukee to see the Bucks level the series and steal the momentum.