The 2021 NBA Finals begins on Tuesday night with the No. 2 seed Phoenix Suns hosting the No. 3 seed Milwaukee Bucks at 9 p.m. ET on ABC. To many, this is a refreshing Finals, the first time in a long time it won’t feature LeBron James or the Los Angeles Lakers or Golden State Warriors. The Suns and Bucks are evenly matched on paper, especially if we get big news on the injury status of Giannis Antetokounmpo.
The Greek Freak enters Game 1 as questionable to play due to a hyperextended knee. He had been doubtful as of Monday night on the injury report. The upgrade is encouraging and should have the betting lines on DraftKings Sportsbook fluctuating throughout the day.
The Suns remain favorites to win the series over the Bucks and are heavy moneyline favorites in Game 1. The O/U opened around 217 and has since moved up to 219.5 with news that Giannis may be out. Even if Antetokounmpo ends up playing, this could be a high-scoring affair.
In this file, we’ll be tracking all the latest updates during the game, providing stats so you can keep an eye on your player prop bets. We’ll also keep an eye on the betting splits and how the public did against the books in Game 1.
2021 NBA Finals: Suns vs. Bucks, Game 1 live updates
End of the fourth quarter — Suns 118, Bucks 105. The Suns have taken a 1-0 lead over the Bucks in the 2021 NBA Finals after a masterful performance from Chris Paul. He finished the game with 32 points and nine assists. Devin Booker was excellent as well, tallying 27 points. Giannis Antetokounmpo returned from his hyperextended knee and finished with 20 points, 17 rebounds and four assists. Khris Middleton led the Bucks with 29 points. Jrue Holiday struggled from the floor, going 4-14 and finishing with 10 points. Brook Lopez added 17 points for Milwaukee.
The over hit at 219.5. The Suns covered the spread at -4.5. Middleton’s player prop hit, as did Lopez’s. Holiday failed to score more than 22.5 points. Jae Crowder hit on his rebounding prop, but failed to hit on his points prop.
11:16 p.m. ET — CP3 just made Giannis look silly by drawing a foul for an and-1 and the Suns are back up by 14 points. Paul is up to 32 points to lead all scorers and if everything goes well, he’ll get his first NBA Finals win. It’s looking more and more like CP3 will just run away with Finals MVP if Phoenix wins this series.
CP3 attacks, puts on the brakes and finishes through the contact... he's got 32!#NBAFinals on ABC pic.twitter.com/tAKCRmqwSh— NBA (@NBA) July 7, 2021
11:10 p.m. ET — Milwaukee’s attempt to make this a game was fun while it lasted. The Suns have opened up a 12-point lead with just over five minutes left in Game 1. Paul has 29 points and eight assists while Booker is up to 25 points. Deandre Ayton has quietly tallied 18 points and 17 rebounds in the contest.
11:03 p.m. ET — The Bucks have battled back admirably in this contest, cutting the deficit to 101-92. Middleton is up to 27 points and Milwaukee’s three-point shooting (14-29) has helped the cause. The over is looking good for the moment, as is Suns -4.5.
End of the third quarter — Phoenix is dominating this game courtesy of Chris Paul, who has 27 points heading into the final quarter. The Suns are +17 from the free-throw line. Middleton has improved his shooting and is up to 22 points, but the Bucks have no answer for the Suns defensively. Booker has 22 points and six assists to support CP3. Suns lead the Bucks 92-75.
10:40 p.m. ET — The Suns have opened up a 78-62 lead in the third quarter over the Bucks. Chris Paul is leading the way with 19 points while Devin Booker has 18. Mikal Bridges is showing up with 14 points for the Suns. Giannis Antetokounmpo has been good for Milwaukee with 13 points and 10 rebounds, but Khris Middleton is struggling. He’s 5-15 from the floor and is -14 in the game.
10:25 p.m. ET — Chris Paul appeared to land awkwardly on his left foot while hitting a three-pointer over Brook Lopez, getting a foul call in the process. Paul has had a strong scoring game with 16 points. Lopez was charged with a Flagrant 1 foul. The Suns hold a 62-52 lead at this point.
Halftime — We’ve reached the break in Game 1 with the Suns leading the Bucks 57-49. The over is looking great right now and Suns -4.5 is in play. Here are the most popular player props bettors took for Game 1, so let’s see how they’re holding up. Khris Middleton has 12 points, which keeps him on track to go over 25.5. Brook Lopez is at 11, so he’s probably going to top 14.5 points. Holiday is in trouble of going over 22.5 points as he’s only got four so far. Jae Crowder has zero points and four rebounds, meaning he’s likely to do well on the rebounding prop while missing out on the points prop.
9:50 p.m. ET — Saric will not return for the Suns, according to Malika Andrews.
9:49 p.m. ET — The Bucks are getting cooked in the pick and roll by not fighting through screens, leading to Brook Lopez being forced to guard either Chris Paul or Devin Booker. The Suns have made three straight shots to open up a 45-38 lead. Lopez has been good offensively, but he’s not going to offer much resistance against Phoenix’s guards. This could be a long night if Milwaukee doesn’t make an adjustment.
9:45 p.m. ET — Saric is getting his right knee evaluated, according to sideline reporter Malika Andrews. It is unclear whether he will return to the game for Phoenix.
End of the first quarter — The first 12 minutes of Game 1 are in the books with the Suns holding a 30-26 lead over the Bucks. Antetokounmpo has eight points, two assists and five rebounds to lead Milwaukee while Devin Booker is pacing the Suns with 12 points, three assists and two boards. If you picked the Suns to reach 15 points first in the DKSB Free $5K pool, you’ve got one pick correct. The over is looking good right now and if you got the Bucks at +4.5, that’s also looking solid.
Suns F Dario Saric is headed back to the locker room after appearing to injure his leg early in the first quarter. If Saric can’t return, it means the Suns will have to either go small for some periods of time or use Frank Kaminsky, who has struggled defensively in his career.
We’ve reached the first TV timeout and it’s been a great start to the Finals with the Bucks up 12-10. Antetokounmpo looks solid with four points, one assist and four rebounds. Neither team has hit a three-pointer yet in six combined attempts.
According to DraftKings Sportsbook, the spread just before tip is Suns -4.5. The over/under closes at 219.5. The Suns are -195 moneyline while the Bucks are +165.
Game 1 Suns starters
THE FIVE. pic.twitter.com/kl6CRj3ngc— Phoenix Suns (@Suns) July 7, 2021
Game 1 Bucks starters
#NBAFinals Game 1 Starters: pic.twitter.com/son5Ki5nqL— Milwaukee Bucks (@Bucks) July 7, 2021
Antetokounmpo will play in Game 1 of the NBA Finals, according to Chris Haynes and multiple media reports. There’s no indication he’ll be on a minutes limit. If Antetokounmpo is 100 percent, the Bucks will have the best player on the court.
Giannis Antetokounmpo, who is officially a game-time decision, did warm up ahead of Game 1. The superstar forward is dealing with a hyperextended knee.
Giannis Antetokounmpo is on the floor warming up — with a protective sleeve over his injured left knee — ahead of Game 1 of the NBA Finals. He is currently listed as questionable. pic.twitter.com/Asta0ex7hq— Malika Andrews (@malika_andrews) July 6, 2021