BOSTON – Even before the Boston Celtics put the finishing touches on the Los Angeles Lakers with a 113-107 win Friday night, the All-Star fate of head coach Brad Stevens and his coaching staff had been determined.
The Toronto Raptors’ 102-97 loss at Orlando earlier in the night meant Stevens and his staff would be coaching the East All-Stars on Feb. 19 in New Orleans.
Toronto’s loss means that Boston will have a better record than the Raptors by Feb. 5, which is the cutoff point in determining who will coach the East and West All-Stars.
Cleveland’s Tyronn Lue coached the team last year, and league rules prohibit the same All-Star coach doing so back-to-back years. That meant whoever had the second-best record in the conference by Feb. 5, would be the staff coaching the game.
And unlike the selection process for All-Star starters and reserves, the selection process for coaching leaves no room for misinterpretation.
“There’s no politics in it,” Stevens said. “There’s no subjectivity; it’s what your team has accomplished. And that’s a credit to the players in the locker room.”
But as quickly as Stevens credits the players, they know that the team’s success this season has a lot more to do with the synergy of all parties – coaches, players and the support staff – in channeling their energy and efforts towards one goal which is to be better tomorrow than they are today.
Celtics players were quick to point out after Friday’s win how pleased they were to see Stevens and his staff rewarded like this.
“It’s big for those guys,” said Boston’s Jae Crowder. “They put a lot of work into it. No finer way to show appreciation as a team to send those guys to the All-Star game.”
Celtics guard Isaiah Thomas was selected to play in the All-Star game for the second year in a row. In addition, he’ll be participating in the Taco Bell Skills Challenge.
Thomas likes the idea of having some company during All-Star weekend.
“That’s going to be good,” Thomas said. “That says a lot; says we are winning and we’re doing pretty good and to get there that says a lot. I’m happy for them.”