LeBron James was the catalyst for the Miami Heat's NBA-best 9-1 record for the month of February and his efforts have not gone unnoticed. Today, the NBA awarded the reigning MVP the KIA NBA Eastern Conference Player of the Month.
This is the 22nd time a HEAT player has earned this honor with LeBron himself winning it previously this season and a franchise-best 12 times since arriving to Miami in 2010.
From the NBA press release:
In helping guide the Heat to an NBA-best 9-1 record, James averaged 30.8 points (second in the conference) to go along with 8.1 rebounds and 6.7 assists. James, who missed a game after he suffered a broken nose, also shot .575 from the field, becoming only the second player (Wilt Chamberlain) to average at least 30.0 points, 8.0 rebounds and 6.0 assists while shooting at least .570 for a calendar month. In a 111-110 win at Golden State on Feb. 12, James recorded 36 points, 13 rebounds and nine assists, and hit a game-winning three-pointer at the buzzer.
From the HEAT press release:
James averaged 30.8 points, 8.1 rebounds, 6.7 assists and 2.67 steals while shooting 57.5 percent from the field in February, becoming just the second player in NBA history to average at least 30 points, eight rebounds and six assists while shooting at least 57 percent from the field during a single month (min. six games), joining Wilt Chamberlain who accomplished the feat in February of 1966. James recorded three double-doubles, three 20-10-5 games and two 30-10-5 games while leading the HEAT in scoring six times, rebounds on five occasions, in assists and steals four times each and in blocks once. He scored at least 20 points in eight games, including seven games with at least 30 points and one 40-point game while shooting at least 50 percent from the field in seven of his nine games. He capped off the month scoring at least 30 points while shooting at least 53 percent from the field in five-straight games, marking the second-longest 30-point streak in team history. During February, he led the HEAT in points per game, rebounds per game, assists per game, steals per game, minutes per game, field goals made (107), three-point field goals made (17) and free throws made (46). Additionally, he scored in double-figures in all nine games he appeared in, and including his first three games in March, he has now continued his streak of scoring in double-digits to 551 games, the fourth-longest such streak in NBA history.
With seven of the HEAT's 10 games on the road, James helped lead Miami to an NBA-best 9-1 (.900) February record. The .900 winning percentage marked the HEAT's 26th consecutive month with at least a .500+ winning percentage, the longest streak in franchise history. In the beginning of the month, James posted back-to-back double-doubles after recording a 24-point, 11-assist double-double against Detroit on February 3 and then a 31-point, 12-assist double-double at the Los Angeles Clippers on February 5. Then in a, 103-97, victory at Phoenix on February 11, James scored 37 points and recorded five steals, marking his seventh career 35-point, five-steal game, tying him for the fifth-most such games in league history since steals became a stat in 1973. The next night on February 12 in Golden State, he hit the game-winning three-point shot to give Miami the, 111-110, win after leading the HEAT in points (36), rebounds (13) and assists (9), marking the 129th time in his career, including the seventh time this season, he has led his team in each of those categories, the most among active NBA players. He then scored 42 points at Dallas on February 18, marking the 50th 40-point game of his career, becoming just the fourth player since the NBA-ABA merger with at least 50 40-point games before the age of 30. In helping Miami to a 22-point win in Oklahoma City on February 20, James scored a game-high 33 points, grabbed seven rebounds and recorded a game-high four steals before leaving the game with a broken nose. James returned to the court against New York on February 27, closing out the month with a game-high 31 points as Miami recorded a 26-point, 108-82, win.
Among league leaders this season, James currently ranks third in points per game (27.4), fourth in field goal percentage (.582), sixth in minutes per game (37.3), tied for 9th in assists per game (6.4) and 19th in steals per game (1.54).
Blake Griffin of the Los Angeles Clippers was also announced as the Western Conference Player of the Month.
Other nominees for Kia NBA Eastern and Western Conference Players of the Month were Brooklyn's Deron Williams, Charlotte's Al Jefferson, Chicago's Joakim Noah, Houston's James Harden and Dwight Howard, Indiana's Paul George and David West, Minnesota's Kevin Love, Oklahoma City's Kevin Durant, Phoenix's Goran Dragic, Portland's Damian Lillard, San Antonio's Patty Mills, Toronto's DeMar DeRozan and Washington's John Wall.
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