BOSTON — The rebuilding Boston Celtics moved into first place in the woeful Atlantic Division on Tuesday night, but that was the last thing on the minds of the players.
"I don't think we really pay attention to where we are standings-wise," forward Jeff Green said after his 18 points helped the Celtics to a 108-100 victory over the Milwaukee Bucks. "I think we just take it game by game and try to get better each game.
"I think we're making progress to getting to where we want to be. There are some kinks we need to work out; I love it. We're getting better each day and I like the way we are correcting our mistakes."
Beating the Bucks for the first time in three tries this season, the Celtics, who are supposed to be chasing lottery picks, improved to 8-12. The .400 winning percentage is ahead of the 6-10 Toronto Raptors, who were to play Golden State in a later game.
"We're getting better every day," said guard Jordan Crawford, who scored 15 of his season-high 25 points in the fourth quarter. "Sometimes off wins we kind of get complacent, forget what it takes to win. We gotta learn to stay focused, pull out these wins, grind them out."
The Celtics, who trailed only 2-0 and 4-2 and led by as many as 15 before holding off charge after charge, have won four of their last six games. The first two times they played the Bucks, who have two of their three wins against Boston, the Celtics failed to hold double-digit leads. Way back on Nov. 1, it was a 20-point lead.
"I thought we made shots," Boston's first-year coach, Brad Stevens, said when asked about the difference. "It's funny how you evaluate the game sometimes; it's easy to say that we were way better tonight, but bottom line we made shots that we missed the other (Saturday) ) night (in Milwaukee)."
The Celtics were 4-for-19 from 3-point range in Milwaukee Saturday. Tuesday, they hit their first four and went on to go 11-for-24. Crawford and fellow guard Avery Bradley combined to go 7-for-13 from behind the arc.
In the fourth quarter, Crawford, Bradley and guard Courtney Lee went 10-for-11 from the floor overall.
Crawford was the key to the whole night, Green saying, "He's cold-blooded. He's been doing it his whole career.""I don't know how many points he had but he carried the load for a little bit," said Milwaukee center John Henson. "You know, it's the NBA, guys can do that. Unfortunately, we got a team that can do that."
Kidd-Gilchrist breaks left hand
The Charlotte Bobcats were dealt a blow Wednesday when they learned forward Michael Kidd-Gilchrist will likely miss the next 4-6 weeks after suffering a non-displaced fracture of the fourth metacarpal in his left hand.
The injury occurred in the third quarter of Tuesday night's game in Dallas. Kidd-Gilchrist had additional x-rays Wednesday morning in Charlotte that confirmed the fracture.
Kidd-Gilchrest was averaging 9.1 points and 5.3 rebounds in 26.7 minutes of action per game. He had appeared in 18 games this season.