By Matthew Geagan, CBS Boston

BOSTON (CBS) — With just eight games remaining in the regular season, the Boston Celtics are in first place in the Eastern Conference.

The Celtics leapfrogged the Cavaliers on Monday night and hold a half-a-game lead in the standings thanks to Cleveland’s 103-74 loss to the San Antonio Spurs. This is the latest the Celtics have owned sole possession of first place in the Eastern Conference since the 2007-08 season when they won their last NBA title, according to Elias Sports Bureau.

There are no trophies for claiming first place in your conference in late March, and that top seed doesn’t guarantee playoff success, but it’s hard not to be impressed with Boston’s turnaround over the last three years. They were a team vying for a high lottery pick in 2013-14, when they won just 25 games in Brad Stevens’ first season on the bench, and now they’re battling for the top spot in the East. Though the Cavaliers are more focused on being healthy for the playoffs than being the No. 1 seed, the Celtics are taking care of what they need to down the stretch. The Cavs are struggling as they focus on health, losers of two straight and five of their last 10, while the Celtics have won four straight and eight of their last 10.

It’s looking good for the Celtics to finish atop the Eastern Conference, with five of Boston’s eight remaining games will be played at the TD Garden. Six of Cleveland’s remaining eight games are against current playoff teams, including one final visit to Boston on April 5.

The Celtics are back in action on Wednesday night when they host the Milwaukee Bucks. If the playoffs started today, the C’s would host the Miami Heat in the first round of the playoffs.

[graphiq id=”f1MchEBy9Hn” title=”NBA Standings” width=”600″ height=”715″ url=”” link_text=”PointAfter | Graphiq” ]


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