NBA Power Rankings: Celtics, Clippers rise as playoff races heat up

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Darren Hartwell
·1 min read
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NBA Power Rankings: Have surging Celtics finally turned corner? originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston

Images of a grinning Jayson Tatum have been hard to come by this season. But when you just hit the game-clinching 3-pointer on your 32nd point of the night to lift your team to its fourth consecutive victory, you might as well crack a smile.

Tatum's stellar play has helped the Celtics vault back into the Eastern Conference playoff conversation, as they're one game back of the No. 4 seed Atlanta Hawks with 17 games remaining.

We've seen this story before, though: The C's went on winning streaks of five and four games earlier this season only to enter into a funk immediately after.

So, will things be different this time around? The good news is that Boston is (nearly) healthy, with Evan Fournier the only sidelined Celtic. But West Coast matchups with the Lakers and Warriors will test their mettle and determine whether it's time to take the C's seriously in the East playoff race.

Let's dive into this week's NBA Power Rankings.

NBA Power Rankings: Celtics, Clippers rise as playoff races heat up