Celtics rise to top spot in’s Power Rankings entering final week

Celtics rise to top spot in’s Power Rankings entering final week originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston

The Boston Celtics are nearing the 2023 NBA playoffs playing at a high level, which is always an encouraging sign for a team at this time of the year.

The C’s own the Eastern Conference’s second-best record at 54-24, including a 7-3 mark in their last 10 games. The Celtics are two games behind the first-place Milwaukee Bucks, who Boston dominated 140-99 on the road last week.

The Celtics still have a chance at earning the No. 1 seed in the East playoffs, but the more likely scenario is them getting the No. 2 seed. In fact, they can clinch at least the No. 2 seed by beating the rival Philadelphia 76ers on the road Tuesday night.

NBA Playoff Picture: Could Raptors sneak in as Celtics’ Round 1 matchup? on Monday unveiled its new power rankings entering the final week of the regular season, and the Celtics climbed up to the top spot.

Here is John Schuhmann’s take on why the Celtics are back at No. 1 in the power rankings:

“After their destruction of the Bucks on Thursday, the Celtics are 5-1 against Milwaukee (2-1) and Philadelphia (3-0) with the only loss having come in overtime and with four starters out. They’re the only team that ranks in the top five on both ends of the floor, and they’re even in the top five on both ends (fifth offensively, second defensively) if you take away their 18-4 start to the season. The drive-and-kick offense can be egalitarian when it’s humming, but they also have a star that can just get buckets.

“Defensively, there’s nobody in the rotation that you can really pick on, and the Celtics have the ability to get really stifling when they put Robert Williams III at the five. They’ve allowed just 103.1 points per 100 possessions in 308 total minutes with Williams and Al Horford on the floor together.”

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No team has better depth than the Celtics when they’re healthy. And, luckily for the C’s, they are pretty healthy right now. Robert Williams III returned to the lineup on March 21 and has made a huge impact at both ends of the floor. Payton Pritchard (heel) was a full participant in Monday’s practice.

The offseason trade to acquire Malcolm Brogdon has arguably been the best addition for any team over the last year. His ability to run the offense as a primary ballhandler and an efficient scorer off the bench has given the team another dimension offensively — one that was lacking in last season’s NBA Finals loss to the Golden State Warriors.

Expectations couldn’t be higher for the Celtics. After coming within two wins of Banner 18 last year, it’s championship or bust in 2023.

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