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Dwane Casey was all wet… and that’s a good thing.
Moments after his Toronto Raptors defeated the Los Angeles Lakers, 123-111, on Sunday night at Air Canada Centre, a win that clinched Casey’s first All-Star Game head-coaching gig, he was showered with water by Kyle Lowry and other Raptors players.
Casey will coach Team LeBron, a squad selected by LeBron James of the Cleveland Cavaliers, at the 2018 NBA All-Star Game on Feb. 18 at Staples Center in Los Angeles. It will mark the first time the nine-year Raptors coach Casey has coached an All-Star team and the first to do so in the 23-year Toronto franchise existence.
“After getting showered by K-Lo and those guys and running out of there, it’s an honor, mainly for the organization, for Larry Tanenbaum, George Cope and the Rogers family,” Casey said after being showered by Lowry and his teammates. “That’s what it’s about — it’s for the organization.”
Casey earned the honor of coaching Team LeBron by virtue of Toronto’s 33-15 record, the second-best mark in the Eastern Conference. The 35-15 Celtics, coached by Brad Stevens, lead the East, but Stevens is ineligible to coach in the game this season after coaching the East All-Stars a year ago.
“I’ve done it before [as an assistant coach], so I understand the hectic weekend it’s going to be,” Casey said. “But I think for the organization, for what we’re trying to do here in Toronto, is something special to talk about for a weekend and to put a light on our program and see what we’re doing is the most important thing.”
Casey will be traveling to All-Star Weekend with this starting backcourt, Lowry and DeMar DeRozan. However, they will be on the opposing side, Team Stephen, drafted by Golden State’s Stephen Curry.
“It’s cool,” DeRozan said. “It’s something that for the last couple of years we’ve been fighting for. What an accomplishment. You want to see a coaching staff get in there and be able to coach in an All-Star Game, as well.
“It’s one of my goals ever since I got my first All-Star. You want to look over there and see your coach coaching.”
Casey, as is his nature, put his players and franchise first.
“This is also for the players,” Casey said. “We still have a lot of basketball to be played, and we’re not going to lose our eye on the goal moving forward. [But] it’s an honor for the program.”