It's not a secret that small-market teams often struggle to make it to the NBA Finals. If you don't take our word for it, just ask the Milwaukee Bucks, who hadn't been to basketball's ultimate stage since 1974.

The Bucks have had their fair share of struggles recently. Giannis Antetokounmpo helped orchestrate a huge turnaround for an ever slumping franchise that was even up for sale not so long ago.

Now, coach Mike Budenholzer and his boys can put an end to a 50-year drought and win their second title in franchise history, and the first since Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (then known as Lew Alcindor) left to join the Los Angeles Lakers.

The Road To The 2021 NBA Finals For The Milwaukee Bucks

It hasn't always been pretty and it definitely wasn't easy. But after years of heartbreak, the Milwaukee Bucks were crowned as Eastern Conference champions. But, how did that happen? Let's take a look.

2021 Regular Season: Milwaukee Bucks

The Milwaukee Bucks finished the season with the third-best record in the Eastern Conference, winning 46 out of 72 games. Clearly, their focus was in the postseason, as once again coach Bud didn't wear his stars out during the first passage of the campaign.

Milwaukee had the fourth-best net rating in the league (+5.7 points) and had 8 players average double-digits in scoring, led by Giannis Antetokunmpo's 28.1 points, 11.0 rebounds, 5.9 assists, 1.2 steals, and 1.2 blocks per game.

2021 Playoffs: Milwaukee Bucks

The Bucks had to meet with their nemesis from last season in the first round. There, they got the ultimate vendetta by humiliating, blowing out, and sweeping the Miami Heat in one of the most dominant performances we've seen in years.

Things didn't get easier as the Bucks had to meet the Brooklyn Nets' offensive juggernaut in the second round. James Harden was clearly limited and Kyrie Irving fell with an injury but still, it took the Bucks 7 games and a Kevin Durant foot on the line to make it to the ECF.

The Atlanta Hawks were tough as nails in the Eastern Conference Finals and the Bucks had to overcome Giannis Antetokounmpo's injury but they still got the job done in 6 games. Now, they'll have to get past the Phoenix Suns in the Finals with the Greek Freak's status still up in the air.