Atlanta Hawks: Eastern Conference Power Rankings, Dec. 24

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Dec 23, 2015; Atlanta, GA, USA; Atlanta Hawks guard Jeff Teague (0) shoots the ball against the Detroit Pistons in the fourth quarter at Philips Arena. The Hawks defeated the Pistons 107-100. Mandatory Credit: Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

81. . . Previous: . Toronto Raptors. 3. team

Toronto should win the Atlantic Division again with ease. The Raptors play well at home (9-5), on the road (9-7), in the Atlantic (3-1), and against the East (10-5). This team should at least make it to the Eastern Conference Semifinals this spring.

If given the right set of matchups, the Raptors could represent the East in the NBA Finals. It feels like a dark horse candidacy at the moment, but point guard Kyle Lowry is playing at an All-NBA level and Toronto is one of the more complete teams in the East this season.

2. team. 125. . . Previous: . Atlanta Hawks

The Atlanta Hawks have climbed to 19 wins by winning their last five games. Atlanta is 2.5 games back of first place Cleveland, but seemed to have figured something out in the last week that makes them Cleveland’s best challenger for the East as we enter Christmas.

Collectively improved outside shooting and a lethal transition offense could again make this good team great for a second consecutive year. I’m still concerned about the glass and perimeter defense, but the Atlanta Hawks’ competitiveness and last year’s playoff run should get them back to the Eastern Conference Finals this spring.

156. . . Previous: . Cleveland Cavaliers. 1. team

The Cleveland Cavaliers have won six straight games and are the only team in the Eastern Conference that has not lost ten games this season. Cleveland enters Christmas at 19-7. Point guard Kyrie Irving should make the Cavs a better all-around team once he gets fully acclimated to the game again after breaking his kneecap last year.

Next: Mike Scott: A more efficient player in 2015-16?

Until the Cleveland Cavaliers either slip significantly or another team undeniably surpasses them, the Cavs’ spot atop the Eastern Conference’s highest perch is theirs and theirs alone. If fully healthy, this team can end Cleveland’s over 50-year title drought.