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Wednesday, December 4, 2013
Your first-place Boston Celtics

By Chris Forsberg

BOSTON -- The Boston Celtics will wake up on Wednesday morning to find themselves sitting atop the Atlantic Division standings (earning a top-4 seed in the East if they can maintain that accomplishment). Impossibly, Boston has as many wins (eight) as the Knicks and Nets have combined for while nearing the quarter mark of the 2013-14 season:

http://espn.go.com/nba/standings/_/group/3


Does Celtics first-year coach Brad Stevens know and/or care about the team's record?

“I know [the standings]," said Stevens. "But it has no bearing on my life. Literally, none. If you can take a snapshot of where you stand versus the competition, but it has nothing to do with your preparation on your next opponent, it has nothing to do with getting better tomorrow, it just has what’s happened. So yeah, I do, I know, but I have no reason to know.”

Echoed Jeff Green: "I don’t think we really pay attention to where we’re at standings-wise. I think we just take it game-by-game and try to get better each game. But I think we’re making progress to get to where we want to be. We still have some kinks we need to work out, but I love it. We’re getting better each day and I like how we’re correcting our mistakes."

Inside the Celtics' locker room, players like Green brushed off the significance of being in first place after just 20 games. But they did revel in being more competitive than most had expected to this point, while still having plenty of room for growth.

"We’re getting better every day," said Jordan Crawford. "Sometimes off wins we kind of get complacent and forget what it takes to win. We’ve just got to learn to stay focused and pull out these wins, grind them out."

Echoed Gerald Wallace: "I think confidence-wise, we’re pretty good. We still haven’t played a lot of the elite teams, but we have played some. The first month of the season, they came fast. The games came back-to-back. We have what, 12 losses? And we probably feel like six or them or seven of them, we could’ve easily won and our record would’ve been totally different from what it is now. It’s a learning experience. You take the first month in stride."