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NBA Power Rankings: Can Boston steal the No. 1 seed from Toronto?

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Celtics hold off Raptors in back-and-forth battle (1:03)

In a game with 15 lead changes and 20 ties, Boston comes out on top over Eastern Conference foe Toronto, 110-99. (1:03)

With Saturday's win over the top-seeded Toronto Raptors, the Boston Celtics are making things interesting atop the Eastern Conference.

The Celtics have pieced together six straight wins without leading scorer Kyrie Irving and now sit within two games of the Raptors. The rivals meet for the final time on Wednesday in Toronto in a game that will surely help decide who gets home-court advantage throughout the East playoffs.

Every week throughout the regular season, our panel (ESPN's Kevin Arnovitz, Amin Elhassan and Ramona Shelburne, The Undefeated's Marc J. Spears and FiveThirtyEight's Chris Herring) will rank the league's 30 teams from top to bottom, with research notes on each team provided by ESPN Stats & Information.

Previous rankings: Week 24 | 23 | 22 | 21 | 20 | 19 | 18 | 17 | 16 | 15 | 14 | 13 | 12 | 11 | 10 | 9 | 8 | 7 | 6 | 5 | 4 | 3 | 2 | 1

1. Houston Rockets
2017-18 record: 62-15

The Rockets' loss on Sunday snapped an 11-game run, their third double-digit winning streak of the season. According to Elias Sports Bureau research, the Rockets are the sixth team in NBA history -- and first since the 2011-12 Spurs -- to have three double-digit winning streaks in a single season (none had four such streaks). Two of the previous five won the NBA title in that same season (1970-71 Bucks, 1999-2000 Lakers). -- Troy Perlowitz


2. Toronto Raptors
2017-18 record: 55-21

After tying their franchise record with 11 straight wins, the Raptors have gone just 3-4 since. The struggles can be tied to the defense, as Toronto has allowed opponents to shoot 49.4 percent from the field since March 16, the second worst in the NBA over that span. -- Matt Williams


3. Golden State Warriors
2017-18 record: 56-21

What can the Warriors expect when Draymond Green, Kevin Durant and Klay Thompson are on the court together without Stephen Curry? In 329 minutes together, the trio has outscored opponents by 9.2 points per 100 possessions, which is down from 13.3 points per 100 possessions with Curry on the court. One slight concern lies with 3-pointers, as Golden State has shot 45 percent from beyond the arc with each of the Big Four on the court. Without Curry in the mix, that percentage drops to 33 percent. -- Matt Williams


4. Boston Celtics
2017-18 record: 53-23

Brad Stevens has bolstered his case for Coach of the Year during the Celtics' winning streak without Irving. During the six-game streak, Boston has had four different leading scorers and faced four teams currently in the playoff picture. In that span, the Celtics are shooting 48 percent from 3-point territory, best in the NBA. -- Vincent Johnson


5. Portland Trail Blazers
2017-18 record: 48-29

Al-Farouq Aminu has been one of the best 3-point shooters from the corners, where he is shooting 48.3 percent this season, the sixth-highest percentage in the NBA among players with at least 75 such attempts. -- Jose De Leon


6. Cleveland Cavaliers
2017-18 record: 47-30

The Cavs have nine wins in their past 11 games, led by LeBron James nearly averaging a triple-double since the All-Star break. Speaking of triple-doubles, James pulled off his 17th of the season Sunday. The grand total for the other seven players with a triple-double in their 15th season: 12, according to Elias Sports Bureau research. -- James Jackson


7. Philadelphia 76ers
2017-18 record: 46-30

The 76ers are going to miss Joel Embiid, who is out following surgery to repair an orbital bone fracture around his left eye. When Embiid is on the court this season, Philadelphia has outscored opponents by 11.6 points per 100 possessions. With their All-Star center off the court, the 76ers are outscored by 3.0 points per 100 possessions. -- Matt Williams


8. San Antonio Spurs
2017-18 record: 45-32

Gregg Popovich isn't sure when -- or if -- Kawhi Leonard will return this season. Like most of this campaign, San Antonio has done well with its available pieces, winning eight of the past 10 games. Over that stretch, LaMarcus Aldridge is averaging 28.8 points while shooting 57 percent and grabbing 9.0 rebounds per game, keeping the Spurs on track for their 21st consecutive playoff appearance. -- James Jackson


9. Oklahoma City Thunder
2017-18 record: 45-33

Though they beat the Pelicans on Sunday, the Thunder are limping into the playoffs. They're 2-4 in their past six games, with each loss against teams over .500. Russell Westbrook would need 57 rebounds and 28 assists in his final four games (assuming he plays every game) to average another triple-double for the season, and OKC will need all the stat-stuffing he can muster. -- James Jackson


10. Utah Jazz
2017-18 record: 44-33

Rookie Donovan Mitchell continues to lead the Jazz as Utah tries to lock up a playoff spot. He has scored at least 20 points in a season-high nine straight games and has 43 games with 20 points this season. That's the most by any rookie since Blake Griffin had 55 games such games during the 2010-11 season. -- Evan Kaplan


11. Indiana Pacers
2017-18 record: 46-31

Victor Oladipo leads the league with 164 steals. He is on pace to be just the second Pacers player to lead the league in that category; Don Buse led the league with 281 steals in 1976-77, one year after leading the ABA with 346 steals in the league's final season. -- Jose De Leon


12. Minnesota Timberwolves
2017-18 record: 44-34

On Wednesday against the Hawks, Karl-Anthony Towns scored a career-high and franchise-record 56 points. The 50-point scorers in Timberwolves history is a rather unique list, as it's made up of Mo Williams, Corey Brewer and Kevin Love (Kevin Garnett's career-high was 47 points). -- Jose De Leon


13. New Orleans Pelicans
2017-18 record: 43-34

Anthony Davis has worked his way into the conversation of top three players in most valuable player voting. His best MVP finish was fifth place in 2014-15, and the best by a New Orleans player was Chris Paul's runner-up finish in 2007-08. -- Jose De Leon


14. Washington Wizards
2017-18 record: 42-35

With John Wall back in the fold, Washington begins its fourth playoff run in five seasons, matching the team's total postseason appearances from 1997-98 to 2012-13. The Wizards need to find their groove soon, though, as they've lost five of their past seven games. Their minus-3.1 net efficiency is 22nd in the NBA over that span, worst among teams over .500. -- James Jackson


15. Milwaukee Bucks
2017-18 record: 41-36

Despite their loss in Denver on Sunday, the Bucks are closing in on consecutive playoff berths for the first time since 2002-03 and 2003-04. Perhaps Jabari Parker can bolster an underwhelming bench (28th in points per game), coming off his first 30-plus-point game since Dec. 28, 2016. -- James Jackson


16. Miami Heat
2017-18 record: 41-36

The Heat have hit their stride offensively, ranking among the NBA's top 10 in both points per game (111.7) and field goal percentage (47.0) during March. In fact, Miami's 111.7 points per game last month marked the team's best output in any full month in franchise history. -- Jason Starrett


17. Denver Nuggets
2017-18 record: 42-35

Since the beginning of February, it is harder to find a better offense than Denver's. The Nuggets lead the NBA with 118.1 points per game over that span and rank second in field goal and 3-point field goal percentages. According to Second Spectrum, the Nuggets have been especially effective on drives, as they are averaging 1.08 points per chance on drives since Feb. 1, third in the NBA over that span. -- Matt Williams


18. LA Clippers
2017-18 record: 41-36

If Lou Williams wins his second Sixth Man Award this season, he will likely finish with the second-most points per game by a winner (22.7). Ricky Pierce in 1989-90 has the highest scoring average by a Sixth Man Award winner (23.0). -- Jose De Leon


19. Detroit Pistons
2017-18 record: 37-40

The Pistons have reversed their fortunes recently, having won seven of their past eight after losing seven of their previous eight. Andre Drummond has been a monster on the glass, averaging 18.7 boards in his past six games. Drummond logged his league-leading seventh 20-20 game of the season on Thursday against the Wizards. -- Sopan Shah


20. Los Angeles Lakers
2017-18 record: 33-43

This past Tuesday, the Lakers were eliminated from postseason contention for the fifth straight season, which is the same amount as their first 65 previous seasons combined. It has been a rough five-season stretch for the Lakers, who have the league's second-worst record since 2013-14. -- Matt Williams


21. Charlotte Hornets
2017-18 record: 34-44

Charlotte will miss the postseason for the third time in five seasons under Steve Clifford. With that said, this season isn't a lost cause, as Kemba Walker recently passed Dell Curry as the team's all-time leading scorer. -- James Jackson


22. Brooklyn Nets
2017-18 record: 25-52

Entering Sunday, the Nets had won two straight, scoring at least 105 points in each of their previous eight games. The Pistons snapped what was the longest active streak in the NBA, and the Nets' longest streak since scoring 105 points in 11 straight games in the 1986-87 season. -- Evan Kaplan


23. New York Knicks
2017-18 record: 27-50

New York has lost at least 50 games in four straight seasons for the first time since the 1960-61 through 1963-64 seasons. Despite losing 50 games again, the Knicks have only a 10.4 percent chance to get a top-five pick in the 2018 NBA draft, according to ESPN's Basketball Power Index. -- Evan Kaplan


24. Chicago Bulls
2017-18 record: 26-51

The Bulls have won consecutive games for the first time since winning three straight in mid-January, and on Sunday against the Wizards matched their franchise record with 18 3-pointers. -- Jose De Leon


25. Dallas Mavericks
2017-18 record: 23-54

This is Rick Carlisle's first 50-loss season as a head coach and first for him overall since he was an assistant to Bill Fitch with the 1990-91 New Jersey Nets (26-56). -- Troy Perlowitz


26. Sacramento Kings
2017-18 record: 25-53

Entering Monday, Sacramento has an 8.4 percent chance to land the top pick in the draft, according to ESPN's Basketball Power Index. The Kings didn't do themselves any favors, as they started a four-game road trip with a one-point win over the Lakers. But with valuable lottery odds at stake, the Kings do close out the season with games against the Spurs and the Rockets. -- Sopan Shah


27. Atlanta Hawks
2017-18 record: 22-55

The Hawks snapped a five-game losing streak on Sunday despite attempting one lone free throw -- they made it -- against the Magic. It was just the second time since 1979-80 that a team won despite only attempting one free throw. The other team was the Grizzlies -- against the Hawks -- on Feb. 8, 2014. -- Jeremy Mills


28. Memphis Grizzlies
2017-18 record: 21-56

The Grizzlies turned heads around the NBA with wins against the Timberwolves and Trail Blazers last week. It marked the first time Memphis won consecutive games against current playoff teams since Oct. 21 and 23 against the Warriors and Rockets. -- Jason Starrett


29. Orlando Magic
2017-18 record: 22-54

According to ESPN's Basketball Power Index, the Magic have a 35.3 percent chance of picking in the top three of this year's draft, the fourth-highest percent chance of doing so. Their last top-three pick was Victor Oladipo, who was taken with the second pick in 2013. -- Jose De Leon


30. Phoenix Suns
2017-18 record: 19-59

The Suns lost to the Rockets on a Gerald Green buzzer-beater on Friday. Over the past 15 seasons, the Suns have lost on a game-winning buzzer-beater 15 times, four more than any other team in the league over that span. -- Jose De Leon