The Celtics are the NBA's best team because of small details that could matter in June.  

LOS ANGELES (AP) — With so many variations that have competed in the Jayson Tatum era, the Boston Celtics have been stalwarts around  

the top of the Eastern Conference for over a decade, but breaking through and becoming champions is a barrier they've yet to clear. 

This version feels a little different, even if it still flirts with volatility from time to time, even if it displays symptoms of combustion in moments of truth. 

The Celtics didn't play their best game in a 126-115 victory against the Lakers on Christmas Day, but one thing is certain 

Their best game is better than everyone else's best game this season. That hasn't always been the case throughout the last six years, but it most emphatically is now. 

Their six best players annihilate the rest of the league with a torrent of 3-pointers, blocks, and stops — and they do it in a frenzy, in the blink of an eye. 

Welcome to the NBA season, where there are food in the rear that the people of Las Vegas didn't eat during the preseason tournament. Even though some teams have played nearly 30 games, Christmas Day remains the unofficial start of the NBA season. 

The Celtics aren't the top team because they have the best record in the NBA (23-6) or because Tatum's production has made another Herculean leap from last year, because it hasn't. 

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