BOSTON — The Celtics killed two birds with one stone before heading into the NBA All-Star break by taking care of business against the Nets.

The first item on the agenda was simple: stretch out a five-game winning streak into six straight, which Boston had no issue accomplishing, defeating Brooklyn by 50 points. In doing so, the Celtics became the third team in NBA history, joining the 1978-79 Bucks and 1992-93 Kings, as the only teams ever to defeat an opponent by 50 points or more in a single season. The second item was much more simple: have fun.

“Obviously we’re all locked in and we know what the big goal is, but it is a game,” Derrick White explained after Boston’s 136-86 blowout win over Brooklyn on Wednesday night. “(It’s) something that we’ve done since we were little kids and I think for most people, you play better when you’re having fun. Competing, but having fun with it. So it’s a good reminder.”

White paired up with teammate Jayson Tatum to sport matching headbands and combined for 47 points, each earning a much-deserved fourth quarter on the bench to rest. Finding those spots to let loose a bit while simultaneously building a lead as large as 56 points with turnovers limited to only eight, is an area where the Celtics hope to be consistently.

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“I mean, 82 games is a lot of games,” White added. “That’s not including the playoffs, especially if you go deep. So if you don’t have fun with it, you’re not enjoying it, you’re not bringing that joy to the game, it’s gonna be a long season for you.”

With just 27 games left before the playoffs, Boston’s assembled a league-best 43-12 record, losing just once to a team below .500 and rarely ever caught in unfamiliar territory. The concerns of distributing shot attempts amongst a new-look roster with Kristaps Porzingis and Jrue Holiday were put to rest on Opening Night, and haven’t risen ever since. The team’s biggest demand — sacrifice — has also been its biggest priority.

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The Celtics have proven that despite how high the bar is set, living up to the hype and enjoying the 82-game ride can co-exist. It’s easier this season to, at times, not take the weighing pressure of a turnover or missed three too seriously when the inevitable trials and tribulations are embraced and not demonized by the team’s commander with the clipboard.

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“It’s a concept that I think’s important,” Celtics head coach Joe Mazzulla mentioned. “Sometimes fun can be looked at as a distraction, but I think the ability to have fun and build togetherness and compete at a high level is important for the guys. It builds a level of connection. But regardless if those guys wear headbands or not, they’re going to compete every night so that’s really all that matters. As long as they do it together.”

Mazzulla earned his 100th career win (in 137 games) since taking over and helping sweep away a not-so-pretty breakup with ex-head coach Ime Udoka. So far, Mazzulla’s handled the pressures of sliding in relatively well, earning the leeway to fully apply his two cents on the floor routinely, whether that’d be through a 3-point-hungry offense or an NFL-inspired defense, all intended to help the Celtics reach the mountaintop and raise Banner 18.

If there were to be a close runner-up on Mazzulla’s priorities list, it’d be defending the locker room and earning its trust. Although Boston’s starting lineup features four All-Star veterans, there isn’t a single key contributor hidden from the spotlight. Any given night, the game ball can go to anyone’s palms and there’s never been a need to remind the team of that. Everyone’s aware of the next guy’s capabilities and makes the necessary sacrifice to exploit those strengths for the betterment of the squad.

“I haven’t stopped smiling being here,” Porzingis said. “I just enjoy being here so much and to be in this kind of organization, playing for these kinds of fans, it’s unreal. … I’m here to do what’s asked of me or whatever I can do to help this team win. That can change from game to game. I’m just with an open mind and with the message that I’m here to help and help us win.”

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The job is far from done, however, that’s no reason to enjoy what’s come with being the most dominant force in the NBA through 55 games. Maybe next time it’ll be five headbands instead of just two.

Featured image via David Butler II/USA TODAY Sports Images