Heat’s LeBron James, Thunder’s Kevin Durant named Kia NBA Players of the Month
NEW YORK – The Miami Heat’s LeBron James and the Oklahoma City Thunder’s Kevin Durant were today named the Kia NBA Eastern and Western Conference Players of the Month, respectively, for games played in December.
James, who helped the Heat to an Eastern Conference-best 11-4 (.733) record, ranked second in the conference in scoring (24.6 ppg), fifth in field goal percentage (.581), sixth in assists (6.9 apg) and steals (1.64 spg), and 12th in rebounds (8.1 rpg). James scored at least 25 points five times and had three games of at least 30 points. He grabbed at least eight rebounds eight times and recorded at least eight assists seven times. In a 108-103 loss at Sacramento Dec. 27, James tallied 33 points, leapfrogging Larry Bird and Gary Payton for 29th on the NBA’s all-time scoring list.
Durant guided the Thunder to a 14-3 (.824) record including an 8-1 road mark, both NBA bests. Durant ranked second in the league in scoring at 29.4 ppg to go along with 9.0 rpg and 4.5 apg. He shot .535 from the field including .481 from beyond the arc, and .880 from the free throw line. Durant netted 20-plus points 15 times, including 10 games with at least 30 points. Durant began the month with a triple-double, recording 32 points, a career-high 12 assists and 10 rebounds in a 113-103 win over Minnesota Dec. 1.
Here is a closer look at the month for James and Durant:
LeBron James, Miami Heat
Dec. 7 @ Minnesota: Recorded 21 points, eight assists and a season-high 14 rebounds in a 103-82 win over the Timberwolves.
Dec. 18 vs. Indiana: Tallied 24 points, nine rebounds, seven assists and three steals in a 121-119 win over the Pacers
Dec. 30 @ Denver: Notched a 26-point, 10-assist double-double and added six rebounds in a 97-94 win at Denver.
Kevin Durant, Oklahoma City Thunder
Dec. 1 vs. Minnesota: Produced a 32-point, 12-assist, 10 rebound triple-double, adding four blocks and four steals in a 113-103 win.
Dec. 8 vs. Indiana: Finished with 36 points 10 rebounds in a 118-94 win over the Pacers.
Dec. 29 vs. Houston: Netted 33 points to go along with 13 rebounds and five assists in a 117-86 victory over the Rockets.
Other nominees for Kia NBA Eastern and Western Conference Players of the Month were Cleveland’s Kyrie Irving, Golden State’s Stephen Curry, Indiana’s Paul George and Lance Stephenson, the L.A. Clippers’ Blake Griffin and Chris Paul, Minnesota’s Kevin Love, Orlando’s Arron Afflalo, Portland’s LaMarcus Aldridge, and Toronto’s Kyle Lowry.
Kia NBA Eastern and Western Conference Players of the Month
The Kia NBA Eastern and Western Conference Players of the Month are part of a series of on-court performance awards called “The Kia NBA Performance Awards.” The series, currently in its seventh season, is part of a multiyear marketing partnership between Kia Motors America and the NBA, and includes five of the league’s most prestigious year-end honors: Kia Most Valuable Player Award, Kia Defensive Player of the Year, Kia Sixth Man Award, Kia Most Improved Player Award, and Kia Rookie of the Year. The series also includes the Kia NBA Eastern and Western Conference Rookies of the Month during the regular season. Kia Motors is the Official Automotive Partner of the NBA and the Kia Optima is the league’s Official Vehicle. For more information on the “The Kia NBA Performance Awards” visit www.NBA.com/awards.