(Photo by Brian Babineau/NBAE via Getty Images)
LEBRON JAMES NAMED KIA NBA EASTERN CONFERENCE PLAYER OF THE MONTH WINS AWARD FOR NBA-RECORD 36th TIME OF CAREER;REGISTERED FIVE TRIPLE-DOUBLES AND AVERAGED 27.5 POINTS, 8.2 REBOUNDS AND 10.3 ASSISTS IN DECEMBER
CLEVELAND – The NBA announced today that Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James has been named the Kia NBA Eastern Conference Player of the Month for games played in December 2017. This marks the 24th time a Cavs player has earned Player of the Month honors and James’ 36th, the most in NBA history. It is the second straight month he has won the award, also earning the honor for games played in October/November 2017.
James and the Cavaliers posted a perfect 7-0 record at Quicken Loans Arena in December and finished the month with a 9-5 mark overall. James appeared in all 14 contests (all starts) during December and averaged a near triple-double with 27.5 points, 8.2 rebounds, 10.3 assists and 1.93 steals in 38.1 minutes per game. He also shot .524 from the field, .346 from beyond the arc and .804 from the foul line. James recorded nine double-doubles and an Eastern-Conference best five triple-doubles (second-most in NBA) in December. Among Eastern Conference leaders during the month, he ranked first in assists per game (10.3) and triple-doubles (5), while also ranking second in double-doubles (9), third in points per game (27.5), ninth in rebounds per game (8.2) and tied for second in steals per game (1.93). His 144 total assists were highest in the East.
The 13-time NBA All-Star was the only Eastern Conference player to average at least 20.0 points and 10.0 assists in the month of December. He scored at least 20 points in 13 of Cleveland’s 14 games and 30 points or more in five contests. James also posted at least 10 rebounds on seven occasions and dished out 10 or more assists seven times. In addition, he recorded at least 20 points, five rebounds and five assists in 11 of 14 games. James notched a triple-double in three straight games from Dec. 14-17, tying the longest triple-double streak of his career (three games from March 7, 2009-March 12, 2009).
James also accomplished several career milestones while rising in the NBA’s all-time leaderboards during the month of December. In a win over Atlanta on Dec. 12, he tallied 25 points on 11-13 (.846) shooting, a career-high tying 17 assists and seven rebounds in 35 minutes. His .846 field goal percentage was the third-highest of his career, with his two highest games being .929 (13-14) on Feb. 4, 2013 versus Charlotte and .875 (7-8) on Jan. 27, 2016 versus Phoenix. Also against Atlanta, James became just the second player in NBA history to compile at least 25 points and 17 assists in a game with a field goal percentage of .840 or better, joining Oscar Robertson, who did so on Dec. 15, 1968 with 26 points, 17 assists and a .889 field goal percentage. Against Utah on Dec. 16, James posted his 60th career triple-double, passing Larry Bird (59) for sixth all-time in league history. With his fourth field goal at Washington on Dec. 17, he passed Hakeem Olajuwon (10,749 FGM) for ninth place on the NBA’s all-time field goals made list. James surpassed Nick Van Exel (1,528 3FGM) for sole possession of 24th place all-time in three-pointers made with his first triple at Milwaukee on Dec. 19. At Sacramento on Dec. 27, he recorded his 1,800th career steal with his second swipe of the night. James capped off the month by pulling down his 8,000th career rebound with his seventh board at Utah on Dec. 30, the night of his 33rd birthday.
Oklahoma City’s Russell Westbrook won Player of the Month accolades for the Western Conference.