To the victor go the spoils.
After the Pacers posted a league-leading 12 wins in December, head coach Nate McMillan was named Eastern Conference Coach of the Month on Wednesday.
The Pacers finished the month 12-3, one game better than the Houston Rockets whose coach Mike D’Antoni was named Western Conference Coach of the Month after going 11-4. The Pacers lost their first game of the month and then won seven straight, lost two in a row in excruciating fashion, then finished the month winning their last five games.
All three losses included last-game breakdowns (missed free throws, turnovers, referees) that flipped apparent wins into losses. Oh, and the 4-1 start to the month was without Victor Oladipo.
Heading into the 2019 calendar year, the Pacers have a 25-12 record which is currently ranks fourth in the NBA, while delivering a +6.5 average point differential which is second best in the league. The Pacers also have the second-best defensive efficiency rating (102.2 points per 100 pos), jockeying back-and-forth with OKC recently for the top spot. Their net efficiency rating (+6.4 points per 100 pos) remains second best behind the league-leading Milwaukee Bucks.
To put it plainly, the Pacers are good...and so is their coach.