Is there a way to define the 2011-2012 NBA Season? Short? The lockout didn’t seem to hurt the interest in the league, as the postseason saw multiple ratings records, mostly involving the Miami Heat in the Eastern Conference Finals and the NBA Finals. LeBron James facing Kevin Durant will do that to ya.
LeBron James got himself a milestone or two, while NBA coaches like Popovich and Thibodeau set wins milestones as well. Above all was Kobe Bryant, moving up the all-time scoring list, smashing franchise records for the Lakers while putting names like Kareem and West behind him. Even Michael Jordan.
Six days into the new NBA season, a 104-89 win by the Spurs over the Utah Jazz turned Popovich into the 14th NBA Coach with 800 career wins. He’s also second all-time, behind Jerry Sloan (Utah connection), for wins with a single team, currently at 847. Sloan is at 1127. Popovich went on to win the Coach of the Year award for the second time in his career.
Bryant kept moving up the rankings on the all-time scoring list and setting new records for the Los Angeles Lakers, being part of the All-NBA first team for the 10th time in his career. On January 1st he became the youngest players to score 28,000 career points (33 years, 131 days). Four weeks later he set a new record for free throws made as a Lakers player. A day later he set a new record for field goals made with the franchise. On February 6 he passed Shaq on the all-time scoring list, moving up to fifth place. On March 9 he reached 29,000 career points, and later in the season passed Michael Jordan for second with most points scored for a single franchise during a career.
Dwight Howard, a 49.1% free throw shooter this season, set a new record for FT attempts in a single game as the Warriors played Hack-a-Howard with the Magic on January 12, as Howard took 39 shots from the free throw line, making 21 of them. He finished the game with 45 points and 23 rebounds.
Into his 16th season in the league, Steve Nash passed Oscar Robertson on his way to being fifth on the all-time assists list, finishing the season with a total of 9916 and a career average of 8.6. Nash is 225 assists away, something that takes about 20-25 games for him, to move another spot up, putting Magic Johnson behind him.
Nowitzki and the Mavs had a come-down year after winning the NBA title in 2011. He scored a total of 1342 points, averaging 21.6 per game. That’s his lowest average since the 1999-2000 season. Nowitzki jumped two places on the all-time scoring list, making it all the way to 19th, stopping there with 24,134 points. Kevin Garnett is only 136 points above him.
LeBron James reached the most important milestone an NBA player can reach, one he’s been chasing for quite some time. But he had another impressive milestone this season, besides winning the NBA title and his third regular season MVP. He also became the youngest player to reach 18,000 points, a month after his 27th birthday. He finished the season with 19,045 point, putting him at 47th on the all-time list.
Jason Kidd has an awful season – Career lows in points, rebounds and assists while shooting a painful 36.3% from the field. However, with 82 steals, he passed Michael Jordan and became no.2 on the all-time list. Like in the assists department, he has a long way to go (706) before he reaches the untouchable John Stockton at the top.
When Deron Williams scored 57 points for the New Jersey Nets against the Charlotte Bobcats, good enough to barely scratch a win against the worst team in the NBA and possibly in the history of the league, Williams didn’t only score the most points by a player during the season. He also set a new franchise record for points scored in a game. Williams finished the season averaging 21 points per game.
It’s taken Tom Thibodeau only two seasons as a head coach to reach 112 wins, leading the Chicago Bulls to the best record in the East for a second straight season (50-16). He also became the fastest coach to win 100 games, needing 130 to make it.
Mr. Double-Double lead the league in DD’s with 48 in 55 games, averaging a career high in points (26) while bringing down 13 boards per game. He also set a new franchise records for points, scoring 51 in a double overtime loss against the Oklahoma City Thunder.
Josh Childress hasn’t really added anything to his game during his time playing in Europe, getting career low minute numbers with the Suns, averaging only 14.4 this season in Phoenix. He did set a unique record, negative one of course, by not making a single free throw the entire season, making it the most amount of minutes played in a season (491) without hitting one from the line. He only attempted two shots.