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December's Top Performers
Highlighting some of the NBA's top performers in the month of December.
Here are some quick hitters on the NBA’s top performers in the month of December. Please note that all references to a “month” mean a calendar month, and all per-game factoids are based on a minimum of 10 games played.
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The leaders in points, rebounds, and assists were:
526 PTS — Luka Doncic
187 REB — Domantas Sabonis
142 AST — Nikola Jokic
The leaders in PPG, RPG, and APG were:
35.4 PPG — Joel Embiid
14.4 RPG — Domantas Sabonis
12.0 APG — James Harden
Nikola Jokic averaged 29.2 PPG, 12.3 RPG, and 10.1 APG while shooting 60.4% from the field. The only other player in NBA history to average a triple-double with 60% shooting from the field in a month is Wilt Chamberlain (February & March, 1968).
Jokic recorded two 40-point triple-doubles. No other non-guard in NBA history has recorded multiple 40-point triple-doubles in a month.
Jokic recorded at least 10 points, five rebounds, and five assists with a field goal percentage of 50% in all 14 games he played. That ties Wilt Chamberlain (December 1966 and February 1967) for the most such games in a month in NBA history, although Chamberlain did not do so in every game he played.
Luka Doncic compiled 526 points, 128 rebounds, and 139 assists. Only three other players in NBA history have recorded at least 500 points, 125 rebounds, and 125 assists in a month (a total of 11 instances):
Oscar Robertson (8 times)
Russell Westbrook (2 times)
Doncic set the Mavericks’ franchise record for most points in a month, surpassing Dirk Nowitzki’s mark of 510 points (March 2006). Doncic averaged 35.4 PPG, becoming the first player in franchise history to average at least 35 PPG in a month.
Domantas Sabonis averaged 21.7 PPG, 14.4 RPG, and 7.2 APG with a field goal percentage of 68.6%. Only two other players in NBA history have averaged at least 20 PPG, 10 RPG, and 5 APG in a month while shooting 65% from the field: Wilt Chamberlain (five times) and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (December 1979).
Only two players in the last 50 NBA seasons have averaged at least 20 PPG in a month with a higher field goal percentage than Sabonis:
70.7% — Dwight Howard (February 2007)
69.4% — Artis Gilmore (March 1983)
Sabonis recorded five games in which he scored at least 20 points on 80% shooting from the field. The only other player in the last 50 NBA seasons to record five such games in a month is Charles Barkley (March 1988).
LeBron James averaged 31.2 PPG, 7.6 RPG, and 7.0 APG, shooting 54% from the field. James is the oldest player in NBA history to average at least 30 PPG in a month. In fact, he occupies the top four spots on this list (age in years-days on day of last game):
38-000 — LeBron James (December 2022)
37-087 — James (March 2022)
37-026 — James (January 2022)
37-001 — James (December 2021)
34-347 — Michael Jordan (January 1998)
James recorded 10 games in which he scored at least 25 points on 50% shooting from the field. It’s just the second time in NBA history a player has recorded at least 10 such games in a month after turning 35 years old. The first occurrence came in December 2021, also by James.
Lauri Markkanen averaged 26.8 PPG, shooting 53.1% from the field, 48.0% from 3-point range, and 90.5% from the free throw line. He’s the first player in franchise history to average at least 25 PPG with 50/40/90 shooting splits in a month. Markkanen is the fourth player in NBA history to average at least 25 PPG with 50/45/90 shooting splits in a month (min. two 3-pointers made per game):
Ray Allen (April 2006)
Kevin Durant (November 2015)
Stephen Curry (January 2019, April 2021)
Lauri Markkanen (December 2022)
There were two sets of teammates who each averaged at least 28 PPG. It’s the first time in NBA history there have been two such duos in the same month:
Jayson Tatum (30.1) & Jaylen Brown (28.4), Celtics
Kevin Durant (28.3) & Kyrie irving (28.3), Nets
There were a total of 45 40-point games, the most in a month in NBA history:
45 — December 2022
37 — December 1961
35 — February 1962
34 — March 2022
33 — January 1962
There were 12 players who recorded multiple 40-point games, by far the most such players in a month in NBA history:
12 — December 2022
7 — February 1962
7 — November 2018
7 — March 2022
7 — November 2022
The 12 players with multiple 40-point games were:
Giannis Antetokounmpo (5)
Nikola Jokic (4)
Luka Doncic (3)
Joel Embiid (3)
Jayson Tatum (3)
Devin Booker (2)
Anthony Davis (2)
Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (2)
Zach LaVine (2)
CJ McCollum (2)
Donovan Mitchell (2)
Jordan Poole (2)