January 6, 2010 – LeBron James was named today as the NBA’s Eastern Conference Player of the Month for games played in the month of December.
James averaged 28.6 points on .482 shooting, 7.4 rebounds and 7.6 assists in 38.8 minutes per game, leading the Cavs to an NBA-best 14-3 (.824) record for the month of December, which also marked the Cavaliers most wins in any December in franchise history. James has now won the award for the 13th time in his career; for the second time this season, four times in 2008-09; two times during 2007-08, once in 2006-07, twice in 2005-06 and twice during the 2004-05 campaign.
During the month, James ranked first in points per game (28.6) and field goals made per game (10.2), tied for first with one triple-double, ranked second in assists per game (7.6) and free throws made per game (6.4), and was fourth in steals per game (1.7) among Eastern Conference players. He scored 25 or more points in 12 of the 17 games this month, including three games of 40 or more points and dished out at least 10 assists in four consecutive contests for the first time in his career (Nov. 28 – Dec. 6).
In a 104-99 victory over the Trail Blazers on December 11th, James scored 33 points on 14-24 (.583) shooting from the field, added seven rebounds, seven assists, two blocks and one steal. It was the fourth time this season that James had reached those levels in all five categories while no other player in the league has done that even once this season. On December 16th at Philadelphia, he tallied a game-high 36 points, six rebounds, seven assists, one block and three steals, which marked the 11th straight game that he had at least 10 points, five rebounds and five assists (making that his fourth such streak of 10+ games). The only other player to do so since 2003-04 besides James is Kevin Garnett (11 games in 2004).
James finished with 29 points, six rebounds, four assists and two steals in their 109-91 win over the Phoenix Suns on December 21st. That victory snapped the Suns’ 19-game home win streak dating back to March 12, 2009, also a loss to the Cavaliers, and snapped the Suns’ 36-game home steak of scoring 100 or more points. In a 117-104 overtime victory at Sacramento on December 23rd, he posted his second triple-double of the season, scoring 26 of his 34 points in the first half and adding a season-high 16 rebounds and 10 assists. He was the first player since Vince Carter during the 2006-07 season to total at least those numbers in a single game.
In the final game of the month, he posted a season-high 48 points versus Atlanta on his birthday (Dec. 30). The only other player to score 40 or more points on his birthday at age 25 or younger was Mark Aguirre, who scored 40 on his 24th birthday in 1983. It was the third most points scored by a player on his birthday in NBA history (Dominique Wilkins 53 points in 1987 at age 27 and teammate Shaquille O’Neal 61 points on his 28th birthday in 2000).