by Conrad Brunner
Atlanta - Pacers Jermaine O’Neal and Kobe Bryant of the Los Angeles Lakers today were named Eastern Conference and Western Conference Players of the Month, respectively, for games played during the month of January.
The two players will square off Tuesday night in Conseco Fieldhouse when the Lakers face the Pacers at 7 p.m.
O’Neal averaged 19.4 points, 10.2 rebounds and 3.38 blocks in leading the Pacers to a 10-6 record for the month. Bryant averaged 30.5 points, 7.1 rebounds, 6.4 assists and 2.42 steals in leading the Lakers to an 8-4 record in January.
Here is a look at highlights from the month for O’Neal and Bryant:
Jermaine O’Neal, Indiana Pacers:
January 4 at Washington – Had 26 points, 13 rebounds, five assists and two blocks in a 107-104 OT loss to the Wizards.
January 11 vs. Golden State – Recorded 23 points, 12 rebounds, five blocks and three assists in a 116-104 win vs. the Warriors.
January 22 vs. Toronto – Tallied 18 points, 10 rebounds, 10 blocks and three assists as the Pacers defeated the Raptors 101-98.
January 26 vs. L.A. Clippers – Had 21 points, 10 rebounds and eight blocks in a 108-101 win over the visiting Clippers.
January 29 vs. San Antonio – Scored 31 points while adding 10 rebounds and four blocks as the Pacers were defeated by the Spurs 106-97.
Kobe Bryant, Los Angeles Lakers
January 7 vs. Seattle – Had 45 points, three rebounds and three assists in a 119-98 win over the Sonics.
January 12 vs. Miami – Recorded 36 points, four assists, four steals and three rebounds in a 106-81 win over the visiting Heat.
January 20 vs. Clippers - Tallied 26 points, 11 assists, eight rebounds and three steals in a 96-92 win over the Clippers.
January 29 at Phoenix – Had 40 points, five rebounds and four assists in a 99-90 win over the Suns.
January 31 at Sacramento – Recorded 38 points, five rebounds and five assists in a 124-113 win at ARCO Arena over the Kings.
Other candidates for NBA Player of the Month included Boston’s Paul Pierce, Dallas’ Dirk Nowitzki, Houston’s Steve Francis, Minnesota’s Kevin Garnett, Memphis’ Pau Gasol, Orlando’s Tracy McGrady, Phoenix’s Stephon Marbury, San Antonio’s Tim Duncan and Washington’s Michael Jordan.