Celtics' Odds of Winning NBA Finals Have Risen Dramatically in This Analytics Model

Celtics' odds of winning NBA Finals have risen a ton in this analytics model originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston

The Boston Celtics have dominated the NBA since Dec. 31, posting the league's second-best record at 29-9 over that span. 

They also rank No. 1 in defensive rating (104.2), No. 5 in offensive rating (116.5), No. 1 in net rating (12.3) and No. 3 in true shooting percentage (59.3) during that stretch.

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It's been a remarkable turnaround for the Celtics, who were outside of the play-in tournament spots in the Eastern Conference standings back in December. As of today, Boston is just 2.5 games out of first place.

The Celtics' rapid rise has seen expectations for the upcoming 2022 playoffs go up quite a bit. Some analytics models even view the Celtics as one of the top contenders to win the NBA Finals this season.

In fact, FiveThirtyEight's predictive model gives the Celtics a 28 percent chance of winning Banner 18 in 2022. That's nine percent higher than the Phoenix Suns and double the Milwaukee Bucks in third place.

Here's a look at the top 10 in FiveThirtyEight's model:

  1. Boston Celtics: 28 percent
  2. Phoenix Suns: 19 percent
  3. Milwaukee Bucks: 14 percent
  4. Denver Nuggets: nine percent
  5. Miami Heat: Eight percent
  6. Utah Jazz: Six percent
  7. Memphis Grizzlies: Five percent
  8. Philadelphia 76ers: Five percent
  9. Golden State Warriors: Two percent
  10. Dallas Mavericks: One percent

The Brooklyn Nets, with Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving (and potentially Ben Simmons, too), also are at one percent. It's a little surprising to see the Nets so low despite their recent slide in the standings. It's also hard to pick against Durant and Irving in a playoff series if they're both healthy and available to play all the games.

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Even if you don't see the Celtics as the top contender to win the Finals, you have to admit they are a real threat to win the Eastern Conference. Their defense is the best in the league, and they have two stars in Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown who can score 25-plus points any night. Boston's trade deadline moves also added much-needed depth and solidified the proper roles for many of the key players.

If the Celtics stay healthy, they absolutely can (and probably should) win multiple rounds in the playoffs. 

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