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Nuggets’ Nikola Jokic named Western Conference Player of the Month for third time

Nikola Jokic’s campaign for a second straight MVP award is gaining steam by the day — and the month.

The Nuggets’ All-Star center was named the NBA Western Conference Player of the Month for January on Wednesday, marking the first time he’s won the award this season and the third time in his career.

Jokic averaged 26.6 points, 13.2 rebounds, 9.0 assists and 1.4 steals over 16 games while guiding the Nuggets to an 11-5 record in January that moved them into sixth place in the Western Conference standings.

The hyper-efficient Serbian big man also shot 60.1% from the field, including 43.1% from 3-point range, while recording seven triple-doubles over the course of the month. Jokic leads the NBA with 13 triple-doubles this season and is one of five players in league history to have seven or more in one month (Oscar Robertson, Wilt Chamberlain, Michael Jordan and Russell Westbrook are the others).

In addition, Jokic became the first player in NBA history to reach 5,000 rebounds and 3,000 assists in less than 500 career games. He entered February leading the league in numerous advanced statistics, including PER (33.1), win shares (9.4), box plus/minus (14.4) and value over replacement player (8.2). He’s second in rebounds per game (13.7), eighth in in assists per game (7.8) and 10th in points per game (26.0).