The 2022 NBA Playoffs are upon us as the postseason gets started with the play-in tournament on Tuesday, April 12. In preparation for the big tournament, we’re taking a look at how things shook out last year, and who ended up winning the 2021 NBA Finals.
The Milwaukee Bucks won their second-ever NBA championship last year, as they defeated the Phoenix Suns 4-2 in the NBA Finals. The Suns came into the series hot and got out to a 2-0 lead, but the Bucks, led by Giannis Antetokounmpo, won the next four consecutive games, lifting their first trophy since 1971.
Giannis dropped a playoff career-high 50 points in Game 6 as he led the team to close out the series. He was awarded the NBA Finals MVP after averaging 35.2 points and 13.2 rebounds per game in the series.
Khris Middleton put in solid work to complement Giannis’ MVP performance, averaging 24 points, 6.3 rebounds, and 5.3 assists per game in the series. He topped out at 40 points in Game 4, while putting up 29 points in Game 1 and Game 5.
Devin Booker led the Suns in scoring, averaging 28.2 points per game through the final series, while Chris Paul averaged 21.8 points and 8.2 assists as well. Booker scored 42 in Game 4, followed by 40 in Game 5, but neither performance was enough as the Bucks outdid the Suns in the final four games overall.
The Suns were in search of their first-ever NBA title, but were forced to reset and try again in the 2021-22 season. They’re on the right track, though, finishing the latest regular season as the best team in the league, setting a franchise record for most wins in a single season with a record of 64-18.
Before the play-in tournament, the Bucks’ odds to repeat are at +500, just behind the Suns, who are favored at +260 at DraftKings Sportsbook.
Last year’s champs claimed the No. 2 seed in the Eastern Conference this time around, finishing two games behind the first place Miami Heat. They’ll take on either the Nets or the Cavaliers in the first round, depending on who comes out on top in the 7-8 play-in game.