The NBA announced today that Miami HEAT forward LeBron James is the winner of the Maurice Podoloff Trophy as the 2011-12 Kia Most Valuable Player. This marks James’ third MVP award and the first by a HEAT player in franchise history. He now becomes just the second player in NBA history to earn at least three NBA Most Valuable Player of the Year awards before the age of 28, joining Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. James earns the honor for the third time in four seasons and becomes the first player since Michael Jordan to win at least three MVP’s. He totaled 1,074 points, including 85 first-place votes, from a panel of 121 voters that consisted of sportswriters and broadcasters throughout the United States and Canada as well as an NBA.com MVP fan vote.
James capped off the season averaging 27.1 points, a career-high tying 7.9 rebounds, 6.2 assists, 1.85 steals and 37.5 minutes while shooting career highs in both field goal percentage (.531) and three-point range (.362). He led the HEAT in points (1,683), rebounds (492), assists (387), steals (115), field goals made (621), free throws made (387) and minutes (2,326). He posted 23 double-doubles on the season while leading the team in points 43 times, assists on 42 occasions and rebounds 23 times. He led Miami in scoring in 12 consecutive games from April 1 thru April 19, tying for the fourth-longest streak in HEAT franchise history.
James earned Player of the Month honors twice this season, first in January and then in February, and was named Player of the Week six times, having now won the award 37 times during his career, the most by any player in NBA history. He finished the season having scored in double-figures in a career-best 419 consecutive games, the longest active streak in the league and as of now the seventh-longest streak in NBA history. After eclipsing the 19,000-point career mark this season, he became just the 14th player in NBA history to score at least 19,000 points, grab at least 4,500 rebounds and dish out at least 4,500 assists.
In his first game of the season, James scored 37 points at Dallas on December 25, marking the highest point total ever by a HEAT player on opening day. He shot a single-game career-best 81.8 percent (9-of-11) from the field at New Jersey on March 6. His 24 first quarter points at Milwaukee on February 1 set a new HEAT franchise record for points in a first quarter and his final 17 points in Miami’s win at New Jersey on April 16 tied the HEAT franchise record for the most consecutive points to end a game in a HEAT victory. He posted back-to-back 30-10-5 games without committing a single turnover after tallying 38 points, 11 rebounds and six assists without a turnover on March 1 at Portland and then the next night on March 2 at Utah, James totaled 35 points, 10 rebounds and six assists without a turnover, becoming the only player in the last 35 years (since the NBA started to keep turnovers as a stat during the 1977-78 season), to post back-to-back 30-10-5 games without turning the ball over. Additionally, his game at Portland on March 1 marked the only HEAT player in franchise history to post at least 38 points, 11 rebounds, six assists, five steals and a block during a single game. He recorded at least 15 points, five rebounds and five assists in 25-straight games from April 8, 2011 thru February 3, 2012, becoming only the second player in NBA history to post those minimums in that many games, joining Oscar Robertson as the only players to achieve that feat. James shot at least 55 percent from the field in eight consecutive games from December 25, 2011 thru January 7, 2012, tying the fourth-longest streak (with at least 10 field goal attempts) in HEAT history and becoming the only non-center to do so that many consecutive times in franchise history. Among league leaders this season, he finished second in total points, third in scoring average, third in steals, sixth in minutes, 12th in field goal percentage, 13th in assists and tied for 25th in rebounds.
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