On Tuesday, the NBA announced that Mavericks guard Luka Doncic(Western Conference) and 76ers center Joel Embiid(Eastern Conference) were named Players of the Month for games played in December.
Doncic averaged 35.1 points (.519 FG%, .424 3FG%), 8.5 rebounds, 9.3 assists, 1.6 steals and 36.3 minutes in 15 games in December. It marked the highest-scoring month in franchise history (min. 10 games played) and the Mavericks went 11-4 in his 15 appearances during the month (11-6 overall).
He tallied a career-high 60 points (21-31 FG, 2-6 3FG, 16-22 FT) to go along with a career-high 21 rebounds, 10 assists, two steals and one block in a career-high 47 minutes in Dallas’ 126-121 come-from-behind win over New York on Dec. 27. Doncic became the first player in NBA history to record a 60-point, 20-rebound triple-double and the second player to post a 60-point triple-double of any kind.
Doncic netted 50-plus points three times over his final five games in December, totaling 228 points, 56 boards and 51 assists over that five-game stretch (Dec. 23 to 31). He became the first player in NBA history to total 225-plus points, 50-plus rebounds and 50-plus assists over any five-game run. Dončić also became the first player to record three 50-point games over a five-game span since Harden in January 2019.
The three-time All-Star has totaled 292 points, 77 rebounds and 69 assists during the Mavericks’ current seven-game win streak (41.7 ppg, 11.0 rpg and 9.0 apg since Dec. 21), which is their longest win streak since their championship season in 2010-11. He is the first player in league history to record 290-plus points, 70-plus rebounds and 60-plus assists over any seven-game stretch.
This was Embiid’s fifth career Player of the Month award, breaking a tie with Hall of Famer Allen Iverson for the most such honors in 76ers franchise history.
Embiid led the 76ers to a 9-4 record (.692) in the month, including a season-long eight-game win streak from Dec. 9-25. Philadelphia’s .692 winning percentage ranked third in the NBA throughout the month.
The five-time All-Star earned the honor after leading all NBA players in scoring at 35.4 points per contest on .545 shooting from the floor and .417 from three-point range. He and Doncic were the only NBA players to post such numbers in December.
His totals in points (460), rebounds (129) and blocks (23) make him one of four players in league history with such numbers over 13 outings, joining himself (earlier this season), and Hall of Famers Moses Malone, Bob McAdoo and Shaquille O’Neal.
Embiid posted at least 30 points in 10 games, joining Hall of Famers Wilt Chamberlain and Iverson as the only 76ers to have double-digit 30-point outings in the month of December. Embiid (twice), Iverson (seven) and Chamberlain (five) are the only 76ers ever to post at least 10 30-point games in any month in franchise history.
Highlighting the month was Embiid’s second 50-plus point game of the season on Dec. 11 against Charlotte. In the win, Embiid posted 53 points on a career-high 20 made field goals, adding 12 rebounds. He’s one of five players in NBA history to post at least four career games of 50 points and 10 rebounds, while shooting at least 60-percent from the field.
Embiid is the first center with multiple 50-point games in a single season since Hall of Famer David Robinson in 1993-94. He is also the first 76er with multiple games of 50-plus points since Iverson had three such contests during the 2004-05 season.
The Cameroon native went on to round out the month with his fifth career triple-double against the Oklahoma City Thunder, making him the eighth 76er to produce five triple-doubles with the team.