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by: Kris Gardner, United States Basketball Writers Association member. Credentialed media member since 1997. USBWA approved online journalist. Voter of Katrina McClain, Naismith, USBWA, and Wooden awards.

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Mike D’Antoni Named Western Conference Coach of the Month for December

Posted: January 2, 2019 -- 2:35 p.m. CST

Today, the NBA announced that Houston Rockets head coach Mike D’Antoni was named Western Conference Coach of the Month for December. It's D'Antoni's franchise-record fourth Coach of the Month award and the ninth of his career.

The Rockets were 11-4 in December, winning 10 of their final 11 games. Houston won a season-high tying five straight games to close out the year, despite being without Chris Paul. The Rockets were 5-0 in December against teams that have 20-plus wins on the season.

Houston averaged 5.9 more 3-pointers made than the opposition for the month, including +7.9 over the final 10 games. The Rockets ranked first in 3-point defense in December (opponents 31.7% 3FGs). Houston hit an NBA record 26 3-pointers vs. Washington on December 19, marking the 24th time the Rocket have recorded 20-plus 3-point field goals in a single game in franchise history. No other team has done so more than 12 times.

Prior to D’Antoni’s first full season as head coach of Phoenix in 2004-05, no team made more than 735 3-pointers in a single season. The Suns averaged over 800 3-pointers made in D’Antoni’s first three full seasons as coach. Last season, 21 of the 30 NBA teams hit at least 800 3-pointers, including Houston with an NBA record 1,256.

D’Antoni has won over 70% of his games as head coach of the Rockets. He is four wins shy of becoming the 24th coach in NBA history with at least 600 career wins. Only three active coaches (Gregg Popovich, Doc Rivers, Rick Carlisle) have reached that mark.

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