NBA playoffs now down to Final Four
Fred Jeter | 6/24/2021, 6 p.m.
The NBA Final Four consists of four franchises long overdue for a champagne celebration.
The Phoenix Suns, the Los Angeles Clippers, the Milwaukee Bucks and the Atlanta Hawks have been on the outside looking in for decades.
The Suns and Clippers have never been NBA champions. Milwaukee hasn’t prevailed since 1971, while the Hawks have been searching for the right answer since 1958.
That leaves many of the game’s top players on the sidelines. No LeBron James, Steph Curry, Kevin Durant. No Lakers, Celtics or Warriors.
It’s time for change. On the upswing, a long wait will come to an end for one of the NBA’s “have nots.”
Details about the final four teams are below.
Last four standing
Western Conference finals (Best of seven games)
Phoenix Suns vs. Los Angeles Clippers (Phoenix took a 2-0 lead June 22 with a last second 104 -103 win.)
Eastern Conference Finals (Best of seven games)
Milwaukee Bucks vs. Atlanta Hawks
How they got here: The Suns went 52-20 in the regular season (best in NBA); in the playoffs, the Suns defeated the Los Angeles Lakers 4-2 and the Denver Nuggets 4-0.
Coach: Monty Williams (native of Fredericksburg, Va.) Leading scorer (playoffs): Devin Booker (27.9)
Leading rebounder: Deandre Ayton (10.6) Leader in assists: Chris Paul (8.7)
NBA titles: None (won NBA Western Conference in 1976 and 1993)
Home court: Phoenix Suns Arena
Fun fact: The Suns have had two NBA MVPs — Steve Nash (2005-06) and Charles Barkley (1993).
Los Angeles Clippers
Founded: 1970 as the Buffalo Braves; team moved to San Diego and became the Clippers in 1978; moved to Los Angeles in 1984.
How they got here: 47-25 in regular season; in the playoffs, defeated Dallas 4-3 and Utah 4-2. Coach: Tyronn Lue
Leading scorer: Kawhi Leonard (30.4) Leading rebounder: Paul George (9.2) Leader in assists: George (5.3)
NBA titles: None, also no Conference titles Home court: Staples Center
Fun fact: The Clippers have had two NBA Rookies of the Year — Terry Cummings (1983) and Blake Griffin (2011).
How they got here: The Bucks went 46-26 in the regular season; in the playoffs, defeated Miami 4-0 and Brooklyn 4-3.
Coach: Mike Budenholzer
Leading scorer: Giannis Antetokounmpo (28.8) Leading rebounder: Antetokounmpo (13.6) Leader in assists: Jrue Holiday (7.5)
NBA titles: 1971; Conference title in 1974 Home court: Fiserv Forum
Fun fact: The Bucks’ 7-foot Brook Lopez and his brother, Robin, are the only twins to ever be picked in the first round of the same NBA draft (2008). Robin is now with Washington.
How they got here: The Hawks were 41-31 in the regular season; in the playoffs, defeated New York Knicks 4-1 and Philadelphia 4-3.
Coach: Nate McMillan (interim)
Leading scorer: Trae Young (29.1)
Leading rebounder: Clint Capela (11.6) Leader in assists: Young (10.4)
NBA titles: 1958 (when franchise was located in St. Louis)
Home court: State Farm Arena
Fun fact: The Hawks’ all-time scorer is Dominique Wilkins with 23,297 points; next is Bob Pettit with 20,880 points.