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Luka Doncic Named Player of the Month

Sports

Dallas Mavericks guard Luka Doncic | Image by Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE via Getty Images

Dallas Mavericks guard Luka Doncic has been named the Kia NBA Western Conference Player of the Month for games played in December.

It is the third time the 23-year-old has won the monthly award, the second-most in the history of the Mavericks behind only Dirk Nowitzki, who won the honor six times during his 21-season career.

Doncic averaged 35.1 points, 8.5 rebounds, and 9.3 assists in December, and the Mavericks went 11–4 in his 15 appearances during the month (11–6 overall).

His numbers mark the highest-scoring month in franchise history (minimum 10 games played).

The Mavericks superstar scored 30-plus points in 12 of his 15 games in the month, including 50-plus points on three occasions. Doncic also notched three of his eight triple-doubles during December.

The stretch includes his historic 60/21/10 game against the New York Knicks on December 27, the first 60-point, 20-rebound triple-double ever recorded in league history. The Mavericks erased a nine-point deficit with 27 seconds remaining in regulation to beat the Knicks in overtime, 126–121.

A couple of days before the Knicks game, Doncic registered 50 points, eight rebounds, and 10 assists in Dallas’ 112–106 win at Houston on December 23.

He closed 2022 with 51 points, six rebounds, and nine assists in the Mavericks’ 126–125 victory at San Antonio on December 31.

He had 42 points through three quarters against the Spurs, breaking a tie with Mark Aguirre (22) for the most 40-point games in franchise history.

Doncic was the clear favorite for the monthly award in the West after being named player of the week in the Western Conference each of the last two weeks of December.

He is on pace to become the only player in league history to have season averages of at least 33 points, eight rebounds, and eight assists.

Doncic’s impressive numbers are not just a result of his high usage rate; his efficiency has been stellar, as he has shot 51.9% from the field and 42.4% from three.

His efficiency numbers have been trending up all year after he started the season struggling to get his shots to fall consistently, especially from deep. He shot just 22.6% from three in October.

Doncic has already picked up where he left off in December, starting 2023 with 39 points, 12 rebounds, and eight assists in a win at Houston on Monday.

Doncic’s career season has Dallas right back in the thick of things at the top of the Western Conference.

The Mavericks currently have the second-longest win streak in the NBA, with seven wins in a row, which has moved them up to fourth place in the Western Conference. Their win streak is second only to the Brooklyn Nets’ 12 consecutive wins.

Dallas’ splendid December came despite injuries to key players, with Dorian Finney-Smith, Maxi Kleber, and Josh Green all missing significant time during the month.

The Eastern Conference Player of the Month award was given to the Philadelphia 76ers’ big man Joel Embiid.

The Sixers went 9–4 in December behind Embiid, who averaged 35.4 points, 9.9 rebounds, and 4.2 assists during the month.

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