Kyle Lowry Raptors Warriors
Kyle Lowry #7 of the Toronto Raptors reacts after Greg Monroe #15 made a basket against the Golden State Warriors at ORACLE Arena on December 12, 2018 in Oakland, California. Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

After their latest win, the Toronto Raptors are making the case to be considered the clear team to beat in the Eastern Conference. The team blew out the Golden State Warriors 113-93 on the road Wednesday night without their best player in the lineup.

Kawhi Leonard watched from the bench with a bruised hip as the Raptors improved their NBA-best record to 23-7. Toronto has a 3.5-game edge over the Milwaukee Bucks for the No.1 seed in the East, and they are the betting favorite to reach the 2019 NBA Finals.

With +170 to win the East, via, Toronto is favored ahead of the Boston Celtics. Boston was considered to be the conference’s best team at the start of the year. After losing to LeBron James in the conference finals in two straight seasons, the Celtics were expected to finally get over the hump this season.

Boston has +210 odds to win the East. They are followed by Milwaukee (+400) and the Philadelphia 76ers (+425).

The Warriors remain the odds-on favorites to win another championship. The Raptors have the second-best odds at +750.

Toronto became a real threat to make the Finals when they traded for Leonard. The forward has put up MVP-caliber numbers when he’s been on the court, averaging 26.1 points, 8.3 rebounds and 3.0 assists per game in addition to stellar defense.

It might be the Raptors’ play without Leonard that’s been most impressive. The night before winning in Golden State, Toronto beat the Los Angeles Clippers in L.A. by 24 points. The Raptors have been cautious with Leonard after he missed nearly all of last season with a leg injury. They’ve gone 7-1 when Leonard hasn’t played, winning their last six games by double digits.

Leonard scored 37 points two weeks ago when the Raptors beat the Warriors in Toronto.

"I wouldn't call them a young team or say them beating us two times is going to give them extra confidence," Durant said Wednesday, via ESPN. "They've been ballin' before that, and they're going to be ballin' after they beat us. So they're not an up-and-coming team. They're here."

Kyle Lowry is leading the league with 10.0 assists per game. Serge Ibaka is averaging a career-high 16.8 points per game. Pascal Siakam is one of the league’s most improved players with 14.5 points and 6.2 rebounds per game.

The Raptors had their best regular season in franchise history last year when they led the East with 59 wins. They improved the roster by replacing DeMar DeRozan and Jakob Poeltl with Kawhi Leonard and Danny Green.

The East is more competitive than it has been in a long time. Boston is rounding into form after a slow start and beginning to look like the team they were expected to be. The Bucks and 76ers both have as good of a record as any team in the West.