The Boston Celtics still have the Milwaukee Bucks in their crosshairs.

The Celtics (26-11) entered Monday with the second-best record in the Eastern Conference, seven games behind the Bucks (35-6), who have been the best team in the NBA for most of the 2019-20 season. The Miami Heat (27-12) sit mere percentage points behind Boston, with the Toronto Raptors (25-14), Philadelphia 76ers (25-15) and Indiana Pacers (24-15) all within close proximity.

Asked Monday about wanting to secure the No. 2 seed in the East behind Milwaukee, Celtics swingman Jaylen Brown made it perfectly clear Boston isn’t ready to concede anything in its march toward the playoffs.

“Never in my life have I ever said I wanted to be No. 2 in anything,” Brown told reporters, per NBC Sports Boston’s Chris Forsberg. “If we can get that No. 1 spot, catch the Bucks, let’s do it.”

The Celtics obviously have a lot of ground to make up to supplant the Bucks, who secured the No. 1 seed last season and defeated Boston in the playoffs before ultimately losing to the Toronto Raptors in the Eastern Conference finals. The No. 2 seed seems like a far more attainable goal for the Green.

But you can’t knock Brown’s competitiveness as the Celtics look to establish themselves as legitimate NBA Finals contenders. There’s been a different vibe surrounding this year’s team — perhaps feeding off Kyrie Irving’s departure and Kemba Walker’s arrival — and Boston doesn’t intend to back down from anyone, even an opponent as formidable as Milwaukee.

Thumbnail photo via Greg M. Cooper/USA TODAY Sports Images