Celtics & Warriors looking like a lock to meet in Finals

ESPN's Basketball Power Index reveals an overwhelming chance of the Celtics and Warriors meeting in the NBA Finals this season. No other combination of East/West teams are even close. The odds of a Boston/Golden State clash are 41.9%, and the next-highest chance is a 22.4% shot of a Warriors/Raptors Finals series.

I am often skeptical of ratings and predictions, but this one seems quite solid. The third-highest probability gives a Celtics/Rockets series an 8.4% chance of happening. That percentage should rise with the recent return of Chris Paul to Houston's lineup. Forgetting ratings and numbers, Boston and Golden State are presently the two best teams in the NBA, and a Finals meeting seems virtually inevitable.

As I wrote in a previous CelticsLife article, the biggest obstacle for the Celtics in any clash with the Dubs is the fact Golden State has more years of NBA regular-season and playoff experience. They have more veterans. I believe the Boston rotations we have seen will be roughly the same throughout this season, with variations depending on the opposing team. But I think Danny Ainge will be looking for another seasoned vet to add to the present team.

After the Death Lineup of Kevin Durant, Steph Curry, Klay Thompson, Draymond Green and Andre Iguodala, the Warriors can bring on Zaza Pachulia, Shaun Livington, Nick Young and David West, all seasoned vets. Ainge will be waiting for the right player to be waived or bought out, or he may work a minor trade to bring in the right guy. With the present group doing so well, I don't see a major trade going down.

The answer may already be on the Celtics roster. It is a very tiny sample, but Shane Larkin is rated 69th in average points scored in Clutch Time. He averages 1.7 points in only one minute while shooting 100% from the floor. By comparison, Avery Bradley is rated 59th in the same category with 1.8 points in 3.6 minutes while shooting 55.6%. Semi Ojeleye is an older, mature rookie who can move his feet on defense and can shoot from distance. Daniel Theis is another older rookie with much experience in Europe. Danny and Brad Stevens will come up with the right solution. Frankly, the present group is quite solid and little change is needed.

Follow Tom at @TomLaneHC

Photo via Stuart Cahill/Boston Herald