Celtics

Celtics are 2020 title favorites, per this prediction model

Celtics

Remember when the Boston Celtics were "dark horse" championship contenders entering the NBA bubble?

It appears the secret is out.

The Celtics are a perfect 6-0 in the 2020 postseason after sweeping the Philadelphia 76ers out of the first round and winning their first two games against the Toronto Raptors in the second round.

But did Boston just feast on a Ben Simmons-less Sixers squad and catch the Raptors on two off-nights? Or is this Celtics team a legitimate title contender?

The folks at FiveThirtyEight are betting on the latter. Their live-update, player-based forecast for the 2019-20 season currently gives the Celtics a 37 percent chance to win the NBA Finals -- better than every other team, including the Los Angeles Clippers (31 percent).

Keep in mind the Celtics arrived in Orlando with +2000 odds to win the championship, behind supposed "serious" contenders like the Clippers, Lakers and Bucks.

But that was before Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown raised their games to a new level, Kemba Walker proved his knee is no worse for wear and Marcus Smart channeled his inner Steph Curry on Tuesday night.

Forsberg: How Tatum lit Smart's fourth-quarter fuse

Getting past the Raptors and either the Milwaukee Bucks or red-hot Miami Heat in the Eastern Conference Finals won't be easy, especially with Gordon Hayward likely not returning for a few more weeks due to an ankle injury.

 

The Celtics' confidence is at an all-time high right now, though, and at least one prediction model justifies that confidence.