By Ivan Carter
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, January 3, 2007
After one of the most successful months in franchise history, Washington Wizards Coach Eddie Jordan and guard Gilbert Arenas were honored by the NBA.
Jordan was named Eastern Conference coach of the month and Arenas was named Eastern Conference player of the month. The Wizards finished 12-4 in December, the most wins by the franchise in a single month since 1977.
Arenas averaged a league-high 34.1 points per game on 47.6 percent shooting during the month and set a franchise record by scoring 60 points in a 147-141 overtime victory over the Los Angeles Lakers on Dec. 17.
Jordan's team beat the Lakers, Dallas Mavericks, Phoenix Suns and Orlando Magic and moved into first place in the Southeast Division. Washington snapped the Mavericks' 12-game winning streak, ended the Suns' 15-game winning streak and broke a 12-game regular season losing skid to the Miami Heat.
Arenas is the third player to win player of the month honors in franchise history, joining Juwan Howard (April 1996) and Jeff Ruland (March and December 1983).
The most recent Wizards coach to win monthly honors was Doug Collins in December 2001.Have a Ball
The Wizards practiced with a traditional leather basketball for two days in preparation for tonight's game, when the Wizards and Bucks play with the old ball for the first time this season.
"It won't take that long to get used to it again," center Brendan Haywood said. "We've all played with it before."