So you're saying there's a chance?

December, 11, 2009
12/11/09
11:18
PM ET
Still wondering if the Celtics, winners of nine in a row and boasting an Eastern Conference-best 18-4 record, could win 72 games this season?

According to computer simulations that produce John Hollinger's NBA Playoff Odds, the Celtics could still finish at 73-9 overall, which would set a new NBA record for wins. Then again, the Green are just as likely to finish at 42-40, which is to say that neither scenario is very likely.

But go ahead and print those 2009-10 Atlantic Division champions T-shirts. According to the numbers, Boston is 99.9 percent certain to capture the division title based on computer simulations after the first quarter of the season.

What's more, the Celtics have a 42.3 percent chance of obtaining the No. 1 seed in the playoffs, and an Eastern Conference-best 15.8 percent chance of making the NBA Finals (tied with the Cavaliers).

Noteworthy is the fact that the Chicago Bulls, who had that epic playoff series with the Celtics last season, currently boast a mere 2.2 percent chance of making the playoffs, according to the simulations.

Here's a bit more on how Hollinger's projections are based:

The Hollinger Power Rankings are a measure of each team's performance in the season so far.

Based on those rankings, each day the computer plays out the remainder of the season 5,000 times to see the potential range of projected outcomes. The results reveal the most likely win-loss record for each team -- and what the odds are for each team to make the NBA playoffs, win the NBA title, win the lottery, and so on.

For more on how the system works, see Hollinger's explanation.

Chris Forsberg

Celtics reporter, ESPNBoston.com

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TEAM LEADERS

POINTS
Isaiah Thomas
PTS AST STL MIN
22.3 6.0 1.0 27.8
OTHER LEADERS
ReboundsJ. Sullinger 8.1
AssistsI. Thomas 6.0
StealsM. Smart 1.2
BlocksT. Zeller 0.7