Brad Stevens to coach East All-Stars, as Celtics seal No. 2 slot

BOSTON -- Celtics coach Brad Stevens and his staff will coach the Eastern Conference All-Stars later this month in New Orleans.

All-Star coaches are determined by the teams with the best record in each conference through Sunday's games. Cleveland Cavaliers coach Tyronn Lue is ineligible to coach this year's game after serving in that role last season.

The Celtics ensured the second-best record in the East when the Toronto Raptors lost to the Orlando Magic on Friday night.

Golden State Warriors coach Steve Kerr will lead the West.

"I think the one thing that's nice about that -- well, first of all, it should be Ty Lue, but the way the rules work then it's the next-best record, because he did it last year," Stevens said. "But what's nice about it is, there's no politics in it. There's no subjectivity. It's what your team has accomplished. And that's a credit to the players in the locker room.

"I almost feel bad that I'm the one that's going. I'd rather have another one or two of [Boston's players] playing in it. But our staff will really enjoy it, and our staff's kids will really enjoy it. And we'll go from there."

Stevens, 40, has helped Boston to a 32-18 record, after Friday night's 113-107 win against the Los Angeles Lakers.

Boston sat far behind the Raptors for much of the early part of the season. But a recent Toronto skid -- the Raptors have lost eight of their past 10, including a head-to-head matchup with Boston on Wednesday -- combined with Boston's surge helped Stevens' squad shuffle ahead in the standings. The Celtics are 19-6 since mid-December.

Celtics All-Star point guard Isaiah Thomas is excited to have his coaching staff in New Orleans.

"They should put me in that starting lineup," Thomas, who was selected as a reserve, said jokingly. "No, that's going to be good. That says a lot. It says we're winning, we're doing pretty good. For them to get there, that says a lot. I'm happy, I'm happy for them."

As teammate Jae Crowder added, "That's big for [the coaches]. They put a lot of work into it. There's no finer way to show appreciation as a team than to send those guys to a thing like an All-Star Game."

Stevens heaped praise on his players for helping get the staff to New Orleans and on his assistants for their work ethic in contributing to Boston's overall success.

"I think none of us are crazy enough to think you get there without really good players, and the players certainly carry the coaches. That's been the way it's always been," Stevens said. "But with regard to the staff, I think our staff works really hard. I've said before that I've tried to prioritize hiring humble, hardworking and intelligent people.

"And they come every day, they work really hard, they do a lot behind the scenes, they put in a lot of time and effort, and so it's nice that they're going to be a part of that, as well."