The 2020-21 NBA season is officially over.
The Milwaukee Bucks are champions for the first time in 50 years, and with their victory, they accomplished a historical feat that had never been done before this postseason: By beating the Suns in the NBA Finals after being down 2-0, the Bucks won two series in the same playoffs after trailing 2-0 to start.
Interestingly enough, the only other team to manage that was this year’s Clippers, who won each of their first two rounds after trailing 2-0. Like L.A., Milwaukee took seven games for the first comeback against the Nets and then got the job done in six the second time around.
On the one hand, it’s statistically shocking that so many comebacks occurred in the same postseason. On the other hand, it shouldn’t be surprising that this level of resilience came after the most challenging season in league history.
Between the short turnaround, the emotional stress of playing during a pandemic and enduring the health and safety protocols, multiple players getting Covid, and playing in empty arenas, this was a really hard season for the league. And it came after a bubble experience that tested all of its participants, specifically L.A. and Milwaukee, each of whom were upset in the playoffs.
Compared to all of that, being down 2-0 in a postseason series wasn’t the death sentence it once seemed. It was just one more obstacle to overcome. With the strength of their collective experience and a little extra juice from the fans, roaring back in a playoff series was a feasible task in this particular season.
That mental fortitude was something to behold throughout the league this year, but especially from the Clippers and the Bucks. Even so, hopefully we never see another NBA season that tests its players the way this one did.
More news for Wednesday:
- Congrats to the Bucks and to the good folks at Brew Hoop! And it seems like our friends at Bright Side of the Sun are back and ready to rekindle some Pacific Division rivalries.
- Mark Medina has a fun story about Devin Booker, Jrue Holiday, and Khris Middleton turning from foes to friends in the span of a few days.
- Ricky O’Donnell gives his top 30 big board for next week’s NBA Draft.
- Marc Spears on the wave of Black coaches hired so far this offseason.
- Good news for Zach LaVine, who has cleared health and safety protocols and will be joining Team USA in Tokyo. So much for Reggie Jackson, Olympian.
- After the Finals loss, Chris Paul made it clear that he has no intention of retiring.