ATLANTA — The Atlanta Hawks were rewarded for the first 17-0 month in NBA history with another first Wednesday — all five starters were selected Eastern Conference Players of the Month for January.
All-Stars Paul Millsap, Jeff Teague and Al Horford were honored by the league along with the other starters, Kyle Korver and DeMarre Carroll. They all averaged in double figures for the month but none were at 20 points per game, showing the balance that has marked the team’s surprising rise.
The Hawks won a franchise-record 19 in a row until a loss to the New Orleans Pelicans on Monday night. They still have a comfortable lead in the East and went into their game against the Washington Wizards just percentage points behind the Golden State Warriors for the best overall record.
Houston Rockets guard James Harden was chosen Western Conference Player of the Month. He averaged 25.8 points a game in January to go along with 6.7 assists and 2.2 steals while shooting 42.6 percent from 3-point range.
The Hawks said it’s the first time in NBA history that all five starters from one team were named players of the month. Atlanta outscored its opponents by an average of 11.9 points a game in January.
“It’s definitely fun,” Millsap said. “Especially when, as a team, everybody’s contributing. When everybody’s contributing, everybody’s happy.”
Millsap led the team in scoring for the month (18.3 points per game), followed by Horford (17.1), Teague (16.6), Korver (13.4) and Carroll (12.3). Millsap paced the Hawks in rebounding (8.0), Teague was the leader in assists (8.5) and steals (1.8), Horford ranked first in blocks (1.4) and Korver was the top 3-point shooter (56.7 percent).
“We appreciate the recognition of our starters’ play during this past month. It is reflective of all the work our entire team and organization has put in,” coach Mike Budenholzer, who will lead the East in the All-Star Game, said. “We place a strong emphasis on having the right approach every day and making daily improvement. Collectively, we know that we have a lot more work to do this season and look forward to continue growing as a team.”
Thumbnail photo via Dale Zanine/USA TODAY Sports Images