Celtics coach Brad Stevens: Heat are a ‘fun team to watch on both ends of the floor’

Head coach Erik Spoelstra of the Miami Heat looks on from the bench while playing the Cleveland Cavaliers at Quicken Loans Arena on March 6, 2017 in Cleveland, Ohio. Miami won the game 106-98. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)

AUBURN HILLS, Mich. — Enjoy watching the Heat play this season?

So does Celtics coach Brad Stevens. Before Sunday’s game between the Heat and Celtics in Boston, Stevens praised coach Erik Spoelstra and his team.

“Their players and coaches deserve a lot of credit,” Stevens said. “It’s not easy to start 11-30 and be able to run off what they’ve run off. I think collectively, they all have a tremendous resiliency to them to be able to do that. I couldn’t be more of a fan when I’m watching an NBA team than I have been watching Miami this year.

“I said earlier in the year, I thought that coach Spoelstra was doing some really unique stuff with James Johnson with the ball as the primary playmaker and putting teams in bad predicaments. And that’s shown itself to the point where I think you see some of the actions they’ve been doing around the league now. It’s a credit to him and how creative he is, and it’s a credit to all the players with how hard they’re playing. It’s a fun team to watch on both ends of the floor.”

The Heat entered Tuesday in the Eastern Conference’s eighth and final playoff spot, just a half game ahead of No. 9 Chicago. Miami began the season with an 11-30 record, but the Heat have won 24 of their past 32 games to climb their way back into the playoff picture.

The Heat have accomplished this turnaround with a list of injuries. 14 Heat players (including Chris Bosh) have combined to miss 299 games due to injuries this season.

“Everybody wants an ‘ah-ha’ moment — there hasn’t been,” Spoelstra said when asked for the driving force behind Miami’s turnaround. “What it is is boring, methodical, incremental and not even straight-line improvement. It’s what nobody wants to hear these days in this millennial generation. It’s not an overnight thing. It was two steps forward, one step back … one step forward, three steps back.

“I wish there was an ‘ah-ha’ moment for a great storyline. There hasn’t been.”

[Heat trying to overcome Dion Waiters’ absence as showdown with playoff implications vs. Pistons looms]

[Hassan Whiteside still dealing with effects of stitched-up hand laceration]

[Erik Spoelstra: Heat ‘tend to like Frank Martin players’ … just look at Udonis Haslem, Rodney McGruder]

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