The Orlando Magic’s Scott Skiles and the San Antonio Spurs’ Gregg Popovich today were named the NBA Eastern and Western Conference Coaches of the Month, respectively, for games played in December.
Skiles led the Magic to the East’s best month at 10-5 (.667). Orlando went 5-3 at home and 5-2 on the road. On the defensive end, the Magic held opponents to 96.6 points in December, the fourth-stingiest mark in the NBA. On the offensive end, Orlando shot 48.1 percent as a team in December, third-best in the league and tops in the Eastern Conference.
Popovich guided the Spurs to the league’s best record in December at 14-2 (.875). San Antonio went 10-0 at home, and at the end of December owned a 19-0 mark at AT&T Center. The Spurs, who surrendered 100-plus points in only two of 16 December games, held opponents to a league-low 87.1 points – a mark more than six points better than that of the Cleveland Cavaliers, who ranked second at 93.2 points allowed.
via NBA press release
Westbrook Notches Triple-Double as OKC Gets Win
It appeared a fitting beginning to Carmelo Anthony’s next chapter, a 3-pointer on his first possession with the Thunder, playing against his former team. Then he missed his next seven shots.
Like the rest of the Thunder, it was a slow burn as Anthony revved up in the second quarter and into the third, scoring 22 on 8-of-20 shooting in a 105-84 win over the Knicks on opening night. In their first regular-season game, there were some rough patches for the Thunder’s new big three, with Paul George missing a number of open looks and Anthony going cold at times, but in the end, talent prevailed. George finished with 28 on 9-of-23 shooting, and Russell Westbrook picked right up where he left off in his historic MVP season notching the first triple-double of this season with 21 points, 10 rebounds and 16 assists.
Source: Royce Young of ESPN
LeBron Vows to Improve his Conditioning
LeBron James says his left ankle feels strong enough to play in Friday’s game against the Milwaukee Bucks. It’s the rest of his body that needs work.
“I just want to get to where I should be,” James said after participating in the Cleveland Cavaliers’ practice Thursday. “The ankle and the foot injury just kind of kept me out and set me back further than I would like, but I got some time now along the course of these games that we got. We got two back-to-backs coming up, so that’s going to help and we have some opportunity to get some practice time in as well.”
Source: Dave McMenamin of ESPN