When asked about their place in the standings, athletes often claim to not pay attention and default to “one game at a time” cliches.

Not Isaiah Thomas.

“I look at them every minute, every chance I can,” the Celtics point guard said. “I’m always looking at them.”

Boston is one of three teams racing for the top spot in the Eastern Conference. Along with the Washington Wizards, the Celtics trail the scuffling Cleveland Cavaliers by two games.

Thomas underscored the significance of claiming one of the top two seeds.

“I think it’s very important,” Thomas said. “Whether one or two, I think it’s important to be in that position. We were in that position, we still are but we’ve just got to be able to take control of things we can control. That’s going out there and being us. But I think it’s very important to get that two seed. That’d be good for us.”

With the stretch run in front of them, the Celtics are going to be enjoying some home cooking. The grueling part of their schedule is behind them, and 10 of the final 15 games will be played at the Garden. All will be on the East Coast, and their longest remaining road trip is two games.

“We’re for sure trying to get momentum going into the playoffs. We’ve got a great opportunity right in front of us to play a lot of games at home,” Jae Crowder said. “All of these games are in one timezone so that makes a big difference.”

Boston boasts a 22-9 record at home.

CAVALIERS: General Manager David Griffin anticipates forward Kevin Love will return during the team’s trip that begins Saturday.

Love had surgery on his left knee Feb. 14. The defending NBA champions are 7-6 since he was injured and have been plagued by defensive and rebounding issues without the four-time All-Star.