Blake Griffin and LeBron James: NBA Players Of the Month For January 2011

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Blake Griffin and LeBron James: NBA Players Of the Month For January 2011
Harry How/Getty Images

The Los Angeles Clippers just capped a 9-5 month with a 105-98 victory over Milwaukee Monday night. 

Leading the way was Blake Griffin with 32 points, 11 rebounds and six assists.

The win made it nine straight at the Staples Center, a mark not matched since the franchise was still in Buffalo.

Blake Griffin will win NBA Rookie of the Year this season. 

And he should be named an All-Star on Thursday.

But first things first.

Blake Griffin will be the NBA Western Conference Player of the Month for January—as a rookie.

Griffin averaged 26.0 points, 13.4 rebounds and 4.4 assists while shooting 51 percent from the field and 69 percent from the free throw line.

On January 17, less than 24 hours after the Clippers beat the two-time defending champion Lakers, Griffin posted a season-high 47 points against the Pacers, with Larry Bird watching, no less.

Larry Bird: the last rookie to average 20 points, 10 rebounds and three assists. 

Which brings us to the Eastern Conference Player of the Month.

They might as well just name this the LeBron James Award for Excellence.

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James has garnered this award 16 times in his career and, at one point, earned eight out of 10 with the other two going to current teammate Dwyane Wade, whom he shared the honor with in December. 

To put this in perspective, Michael Jordan won 16 as well. However, the award, which began before the 1979-80 season, wasn't split between conferences until the 2001-02 season. 

In other words, Jordan didn't just have to beat out guys like Bird and Charles Barkley, but Magic Johnson, Hakeem Olajuwon and Karl Malone as well.

While Derrick Rose's numbers are impressive (25.5 points, 4.3 rebounds, 7.4 assists, 0.8 steals and 1.0 blocks per game), including the Bulls' 12-4 record for January, LeBron's campaign simply cannot be denied.

James averaged 30.6 points, 8.4 rebounds, 7.4 assists, 1.8 steals and 1.1 blocks with Miami posting a 9-3 record when he played-the same winning percentage as Rose's Chicago squad.

The new tally will look like this:

James 17

Jordan 16 

Griffin 1*

*first of many

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