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Here are some statistics to chew on when thinking about which teams have the best shot to win a title.
In the past 10 years, teams in the Finals average about 56 wins, or a .683 winning-percentage. They win around 24 road games (just under 60 percent) and have an average point-differential of plus-5.7.
The 10 championship winning squads over the same number of years have averaged 59 wins (.720 winning-percentage), 25 road wins (.610 road winning-percentage) and have a mean point-differential of plus-6.5.
Those numbers are quite daunting by themselves, but wait, there's more.
Only two teams during this stretch have won a championship with a point-differential under plus-four—the 2000-01 Lakers (it helps to have Shaq and Kobe on your team) and the 2005-06 Dwyane Wades, er, Miami Heat.
They are the exceptions that prove the rule and that Heat team was the biggest anomaly in terms of these stats due to to their 21-20 road record.
The Spurs also won the 2005 title despite a just-above-.500 record in away games, but they had a point differential of plus-7.8, making them not as fluky looking as Miami.
The only teams to make the Finals with a sub-.500 road record were the Nets in 2002 and 2003 and the 2006-07 Cavaliers, and both teams were dispatched with rather easily.
New Jersey was swept in 2002 as were the Cavs in 2007. The six-game series the Nets and Spurs played in 2003 wasn't as close as the number of games played indicates being that San Antonio won its four games by an average of 10 points and the Nets won their two by a total of three.
In short, the signs of a championship team are evident throughout the season. Teams with realistic title hopes need to win a ton of games during the regular season, obviously, while also winning a high percentage of their road contests and having a high point-differential.
There's also the eye test. Teams that win usually have a certain feel to them. For instance, when watching the Celtics play during the 2007-08 season, it was pretty apparent they were on their way to being fitted for rings.
Before going into which teams fit all these descriptions and are therefore most likely to win the 2011 NBA Finals, let's take a look at four teams that look close and have good overall records but are not ready to be playing in June.