SportsTips’ NBA Power Rankings 2021: Playoffs – Conference Finals, Week Two

SportsTips’ NBA Power Rankings 2021: Playoffs – Conference Finals, Week Two
Tue 29th June 2021

The Conference Finals are in full swing and our NBA Power Rankings have sorted through the last four teams to see what their chances are to win it all.

The Phoenix Suns are up 3-1 over the Los Angeles Clippers while the Milwaukee Bucks hold a 2-1 lead over the Atlanta Hawks, but what order do we have each team in?

Here’s where the remaining four teams stand in our NBA Power Rankings for the Conference Finals of the 2020-21 NBA season:

1. Phoenix Suns

NBA Championship Odds: +160
Western Conference Finals: 3-1 (Los Angeles)
Postseason Seed: 2nd – West
Previous Ranking: 1

The Phoenix Suns ended the week with a narrow victory over the Clippers to take a 3-1 series lead. That is massive for the Suns, who will be able to return home on Monday night with the possibility of advancing to the NBA Finals. The worry is that their three wins have been by a combined 11 points while their one loss was by 14. 

Chris Paul has looked average since returning from COVID-19 while Devin Booker is unable to consistently hit shots. With that being said, they are still up 3-1 in the Western Conference Finals and need just one win from the next three games, two of which are at home, to advance. 

2. Milwaukee Bucks

NBA Championship Odds: -125
Eastern Conference Finals: 2-1 (Atlanta)
Postseason Seed: 3rd – East
Previous Ranking: 4

After a disappointing Game One loss at home on Wednesday, the Milwaukee Bucks have regained control of the series. A 34 point pounding on Friday night was followed by a gusty 11 point win in Atlanta on Sunday, giving them a 2-1 series lead. That isn’t the only positive for the Bucks, with Trae Young injuring his ankle in Game Three and being listed as just questionable for Tuesday’s decisive Game Four.

Giannis Antetokounpo is averaging 30.7 points and 10.7 rebounds per game through the series but Khris Middleton is the most important aspect of Milwaukee’s current and future success. After combining for just 30 points in the first two games, Middleton erupted in Game Three, putting up 38 points, scoring 20 of them in the fourth, and willing the Bucks to victory. He is the key to their NBA Championship hopes. 

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3. Los Angeles Clippers

NBA Championship Odds: +800
Western Conference Finals: 1-3 (Phoenix)
Postseason Seed: 4th – West
Previous Ranking: 4

Despite currently being in a 3-1 hole, the Los Angeles Clippers actually rise up to third in our NBA Power Rankings. They have outscored the Suns by three points through the first four games despite winning just one of them and have for the most part looked the better team, only losing due to their inability to hit shots.

However, the door is still slightly open for LA, given history is on their side. Chris Paul has given up a 3-1 lead before, funnily enough, when he played for the Clippers. On top of that, Ty Lue has been head coach on a team that has comeback from a 3-1 deficit, the 2016 Cavs, and LA found themselves down 0-2 to the Jazz in the last round before rolling off four straight wins to advance, so three straight against the Suns isn’t out of the question.

4. Atlanta Hawks

NBA Championship Odds: +2500
Eastern Conference Finals: 1-2 (Milwaukee)
Postseason Seed: 5th – East
Previous Ranking: 3

The fairytale run may be on its last legs for the Atlanta Hawks. They sink to the bottom of our NBA Power Rankings for the Conference Finals with Trae Young’s injury leaving a big cloud over the team. While their Game One win in Milwaukee was incredible, they have been outscored by 45 points in the two games since then. 

Things will only get harder for them now with Young not at 100%. He was the only one to score more than 20 points in their Game Three defeat and if he is unable to go in Game Four, the Hawks will be facing a 3-1 deficit heading back to Milwaukee for a tough Game Five. 

*Odds correct at time of publication, courtesy of FanDuel.

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Tim is a keen follower of all American sports, in particular the NBA and NFL. He has followed both sports for over a decade and would happily sit down and watch every game, regardless of who is playing! No matter the sport, whether it be NFL and NBA or even MLB, NHL, UFC and all sports, Tim covers it from every angle, staying in the loop to bring you the most up-to-date information and the best picks and predictions on the market.