Photo courtesy of Arizona Cardinals
Either the Milwaukee Bucks or Phoenix Suns will claim an NBA title this season.
Through three games, the Suns hold a 2-1 series edge. So far, the home team has won every game in the series.
For Phoenix, this is just its third NBA Finals appearance. The Suns have lost the previous two appearances — both in six games. Their most recent NBA Finals appearance came in 1993 as they fell to Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls.
As is the case with Phoenix, this is just Milwaukee’s third NBA Finals appearance and first since 1974. The Bucks fell to the Boston Celtics in six games that year after sweeping the Baltimore Bullets during the 1971 Finals.
This year’s NBA Finals however, isn’t the first time that a team from Wisconsin met one from Arizona in the postseason. Here’s a look back at previous major professional sports playoff match-ups between teams from those states:
NBA: 1978 Western Conference First Round
Date(s): April 11-14, 1978
Result: Milwaukee Bucks 2, Phoenix Suns 0
Overview: There was a time when both Milwaukee and Phoenix were members of the Western Conference. During the 1978 NBA Playoffs, the first round was just a best-of-3. Like this season, Phoenix had home-court advantage, but Milwaukee was able to steal the first game in Phoenix before closing the series out with a 94-90 win. Marques Johnson averaged 28.5 points and 14 rebounds over the two games to lead Milwaukee. Brian Winters averaged 27.5 points for the Bucks over the two games. The Bucks would go on to fall to the Denver Nuggets in seven games in the Western Conference Semifinals.
NFL: 2009 NFC Wild Card
Date(s): Jan. 10, 2010
Result: Arizona Cardinals 51, Green Bay Packers 45 (overtime)
Overview: In a contest that had more than 1,000 total yards and 96 total points, it was a defensive play that decided the NFC Wild Card Game at University of Phoenix Stadium. Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rodgers passed for 423 yards and accounted for five total touchdowns as the Packers rallied from 17 points down to force overtime, but in the extra period, Rodgers fumbled on a sack. The ball was scooped up by Arizona linebacker Karlos Dansby and returned 17 yards for the winning touchdown. Arizona quarterback Kurt Warner passed for 379 yards and five scores in the win. Larry Fitzgerald and Early Doucet each caught two touchdowns for the Cardinals. Arizona had a chance to win at the end of regulation, but kicker Neil Rackers missed a 34-yard field goal attempt. Arizona would go on to get routed by the eventual world champion New Orleans Saints in the Divisional round.
MLB: 2011 National League Division Series
Date(s): Oct. 1-7, 2011
Result: Milwaukee Brewers 3, Arizona Diamondbacks 2
Overview: In a series where the home team won every game, the Milwaukee Brewers clinched the series with a walk-off win in a thrilling Game 5 at Miller Park. Nyjer Morgan played the role of hero with a walk-off single in the bottom of the 10th. The Brewers actually took a 2-1 lead to the ninth inning, but the Arizona Diamondbacks forced extras with bunt single from Willie Bloomquist. Game 5 was the only game decided by fewer than three runs in the series. Ryan Braun hit .500 with a home run and four RBIs for Milwaukee during the NLDS. The Brewers would go on to lose to the St. Louis Cardinals in the National League Championship Series in six games.
NFL: 2015 NFC Divisional Playoff
Date(s): Jan. 16, 2016
Result: Arizona Cardinals 26, Green Bay Packers 20 (overtime)
Overview: For the second time in as many playoff meetings, the Arizona Cardinals used an overtime touchdown to end the Green Bay Packers’ season at University of Phoenix Stadium. Arizona looked as though it would advance until the final play of regulation when Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rodgers connected on a 41-yard Hail Mary touchdown pass to Jeff Janis with no time remaining. In the extra period however, it took the Cardinals just three plays to end the contest. After connecting with Larry Fitzgerald for 75 yards on the first play of overtime, Carson Palmer found Fitzgerald for the 5-yard score just 65 seconds into the extra period. Palmer passed for 349 yards and three touchdowns in the win. Fitzgerald had a monster day receiving, catching eight passes for 176 yards. Arizona would fall to the Carolina Panthers in the NFC Championship, 49-15.
Mike Ferguson is the managing editor for Fifth Quarter. Be sure to follow Mike on Twitter at @MikeWFerguson. Follow all of Mike’s work by liking his Facebook page.