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Luka Dončić named player of the month for the third time in his career

Luka Dončić has been named NBA’s Western Conference Player of the Month for December. After November 2019 and February 2022, this is the third time he has received this honour. In the history of the Dallas Mavericks, Dirk Nowitzki is the only player to have won the award more times – six to be precise –, but unlike Luka, who is playing his fifth season in the NBA, Dirk spent a total of 21 seasons across the pond.

In 15 games in the last month of 2022, 11 of which Dallas won, Dončić averaged 35.1 points, 9.3 assists and 8.45 rebounds. With an average of 34.3 points per game in the first part of the NBA season, he ended the year as the top point-scorer, while also ranking fourth in assists (8.9), 22nd in rebounds (8.8) and sixth in steals (1.7).

A game for the record books

The monthly award is partly the result of Dončić’s personal and club scoring record, as he finished the Mavs’ seventh game in December against the New York Knicks with a triple-double: 60 points, 21 rebounds and 10 assists, becoming the first player in the history of the NBA to achieve these stats. Only two players before him had managed to exceed 50 points and 20 rebounds in a triple-double.

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The Ljubljana-born star is only the seventh player in NBA history to score 50 points and a triple-double and by far the youngest, at 23 years and 302 days. The previous record-holder, Wilt Chamberlain, had achieved it way back in 1963 at 26 years and 176 days, according to ESPN Stats.

This game also marked a remarkable comeback for both Dončić and Dallas. With only 33.9 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter and the team down by nine points, they managed to level the score and ended up winning the game. According to ESPN Stats, no team in 13,884 NBA games had ever managed to make up such a big difference in the short span of 35 seconds.

Author: Jani Drnovšek

Date: 11. January 2023

Time to read: 2 min