Top seeds and super teams will be spectators Tuesday (Wednesday in Manila), when the Phoenix Suns play host to the Milwaukee Bucks in Game 1 of the smaller-market NBA Finals.
The Suns, No. 2 seed in the Western Conference, face the No. 3 seed from the East in the Bucks, with both franchises ending long Finals droughts. Neither has been this deep in the playoffs in 28 years.
Milwaukee, which has not been to the Finals since 1974, has just one title, while the Suns return to the championship round for the first time since 1993 having never won it all.
A second NBA title in Milwaukee will likely hinge on the health of superstar Giannis Antetokounmpo, who is expected to be a game-time decision because of a left knee injury.
Can Milwaukee spring a surprise in Game 1, or can Chris Paul and the Suns protect home court? — With a report from Field Level Media/Reuters