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Mike D’Antoni named Western Conference Coach of the Month for December

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Houston’s turnaround in December is being recognized.

NBA: Portland Trail Blazers at Houston Rockets Thomas B. Shea-USA TODAY Sports

Houston Rockets head coach Mike D’Antoni has helped spearhead the return to order that took place in the month of December, with the Rockets going 11-4 to flip their record to 21-15 on the season. They’re now in fourth place in the Western Conference after falling to 13th just a few weeks ago.

As such, D’Antoni’s being recognized as the Western Conference Coach of the Month of December for his efforts in leading Houston back from the brink.

D’Antoni’s award is well-deserved, as he’s done far more than just hand the ball to James Harden and get out of the way as some would claim. He’s successfully juggled his lineup after injuries to Chris Paul, James Ennis, and Eric Gordon, and he made the ballsy move of putting former G-Leaguer Danuel House into the starting lineup. That move has payed dividends, as House is playing great, scoring 38 points and hitting 8 threes over Houston’s last three games, and he’s fit in well chemistry-wise with the varsity squad.

The coach also made an adjustment to the Rockets’ defensive philosophy, switching less on pick-and-rolls and keeping center Clint Capela back home in the paint more often. That’s resulted in rising rebound rates that have been one of the key factors in Houston’s recent resurgence.

So while it certainly helps to have the best offensive player in the game going supernova night in and night out, D’Antoni’s done more than his fair share to help the Rockets right the ship, and he’s certainly deserving of the award this month.

Congrats, coach!