NEW YORK – The Milwaukee Bucks’ Giannis Antetokounmpo and the Portland Trail Blazers’ Damian Lillard today were named the Kia NBA Eastern and Western Conference Players of the Month, respectively, for games played in March.
Antetokounmpo helped the Bucks finish an Eastern Conference-best 14-4 in March, the franchise’s first calendar month with at least 14 victories since going 16-2 in February 1971. The 22-year-old from Greece averaged 22.4 points (ninth in the East), 8.4 rebounds (10th in the East), 4.8 assists, 1.78 blocked shots (fourth in the East) and 1.33 steals in 18 games. He also shot 51.4 percent from the field, his fifth straight month above 50.0. Antetokounmpo posted five point-rebound double-doubles during the month, including three that featured more than 30 points each. The All-Star forward capped the month by recording 28 points, 14 rebounds and nine assists in a 108-105 overtime victory against the Detroit Pistons on March 31.
Behind Lillard, the Trail Blazers went an NBA-best 13-3 in March to surge into eighth place in the Western Conference. Lillard ranked third in the NBA in scoring (29.1 ppg) and tied for fourth in three-pointers made (55) to go with 6.0 assists, 4.4 rebounds and 1.44 steals in 16 games. The 26-year-old guard shot 48.3 percent from the field, 41.7 percent from three-point range and 87.7 percent from the free throw line. Lillard posted eight games with at least 30 points, including a season-high 49-point performance in a 115-104 road win over the Miami Heat on March 19. He matched a career high with nine three-pointers and hit 12-of-12 at the free throw line against Miami.
Here is a recap of March for Antetokounmpo and Lillard:
Giannis Antetokounmpo, Milwaukee Bucks
March 8 vs. New York: Notched 32 points, 13 rebounds, seven assists and four steals in a 104-93 victory against the Knicks.
March 22 @ Sacramento: Scored 32 points, grabbed 14 rebounds and handed out five assists in a 116-98 win over the Kings.
March 24 vs. Atlanta: Finished with 34 points, 13 rebounds, five assists, three blocks and two steals in a 100-97 win against the Hawks.
Damian Lillard, Portland Trail Blazers
March 2 vs. Oklahoma City: Contributed 33 points, five assists and four rebounds in a 114-109 victory over the Thunder.
March 15 @ San Antonio: Scored 36 points and added four assists, three rebounds and two steals in a 110-106 win over the Spurs.
March 30 vs. Houston: Recorded 31 points, 11 assists and four rebounds in a 117-107 win against the Rockets.
Other nominees for the Kia NBA Eastern and Western Conference Players of the Month were Indiana’s Paul George, Golden State’s Stephen Curry, Houston’s James Harden, LA Clippers’ Blake Griffin, Miami’s Hassan Whiteside and Goran Dragic, New Orleans’ Anthony Davis, Oklahoma City’s Russell Westbrook, Phoenix’s Devin Booker and Toronto’s DeMar DeRozan.