The NBA announced that Miami Heat coach Erik Spoelstra has been named head coach of the 2013 NBA Eastern Conference All-Star team. This is the first time Spoelstra will coach the time and just the second time a Heat coach has been earned the honor. Spoelstra was an assistant coach for Stan Van Gundy in the 2005 NBA All-Star game.
"It is a heck of an honor and this has been a special year, going back to last year and then continuing this year," Spoelstra said after the victory over the Raptors on Sunday. "First and foremost, obviously, we're happy that we have the number one spot in the East, in a very competitive Eastern Conference this year. People have been talking about the championship hangover, things of that nature. We see it in a different way. We're starting to play better basketball in these last 3 or 4 weeks. So it is an honor for our staff and it's a credit to them but a big time credit to the players. We're happy to go, we're excited about it.
"You don't spend any time thinking about it as it's happening. You're just trying to prepare your team and make sure you have the best record. But now that it happened, it's cool. We'll make the most of it. Our staff is thrilled about it. Our players gave us some congratulations afterwards. That's about as rare as things ever get in this league. So we'll be happy to spend that weekend in Houston and do something different than we've ever done."
Asked about whether he'll start Chris Bosh, he was coy as he smiled but certainly made it be known that no one should be surprised if it happens.
"Look, I've only given this thought for the last nine minutes but I will tell you this unequivocally that my loyalties are, first and foremost, always with the Miami Heat."
The 62nd NBA All-Star Game, which will air live on TNT and ESPN Radio in the U.S., and reach fans in more than 200 countries and territories in more than 40 languages, will be played at the Toyota Center on Sunday, February 17, 2013.
The Heat's official press release has all the details on Spoelstra's accomplishments thus far:
Spoelstra, in his fifth season as Miami's head coach, has led the HEAT to an Eastern Conference best 30-14 (.682) record this season. His offense is shooting 49 percent from the field and 38.4 percent from three-point range, both franchise highs. He capped off January with an 8-5 (.615) record, a franchise-best 18th consecutive winning month. Additionally, Miami has posted a 76-19 record (.800) at home since the 2010-11 season, the second-highest home winning percentage in the NBA over that span. His .629 (224-132) career winning percentage is the highest in franchise history and his 224 career wins are the second-most in team history.
Spoelstra, a three-time NBA Coach of the Month, has appeared in postseason play in each of his first four seasons while capturing two division titles, two conference championships and an NBA title. His 34 playoff victories and .607 (34-22) postseason winning percentage both tie the franchise highs. His .793 (23-6) postseason home winning percentage is the best among active head coaches and ranks sixth all-time among NBA coaches (minimum 25 games).