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LeBron James of the Miami Heat is the winner of the Maurice Podoloff Trophy as the 2011-12 Kia NBA Most Valuable Player Award, the NBA announced today. James earns the honor for the third time in four seasons and becomes the first player since Michael Jordan to win at least three MVPs.
James totaled 1,074 points, including 85 first-place votes, from a panel of 121 voters that consisted of sportswriters and broadcasters throughout the United States and Canada as well as an NBA.com MVP fan vote. For the third consecutive season, the NBA and Kia Motors America gave fans the opportunity to submit their votes by ranking their top five choices through a dedicated Web page on NBA.com. The fan vote counted as one vote and was compiled with the 120 media votes to determine the winner. Players were awarded 10 points for each first-place vote, seven points for each second-place vote, five for third, three for fourth and one for each fifth-place vote received.
Rounding out the top five in voting are Oklahoma City's Kevin Durant (889 points, 24 first-place votes), the Los Angeles Clippers' Chris Paul (385, six first-place votes), the Los Angeles Lakers' Kobe Bryant (352, two first-place votes), and San Antonio's Tony Parker (331, four first-place votes).
James led the Heat to a 46-20 mark and the No. 2 seed in the Eastern Conference Playoffs. Despite averaging a career-low 37.5 minutes, the eight-time All-Star led the NBA in plus-minus score differential (+7.6) and ranked third in scoring (27.1 ppg), while pacing the Heat in assists (6.2 apg) and tying for the team lead in rebounds (7.9 rpg). In addition, James established career bests in field goal percentage (.531) and three-point field goal percentage (.362).
This season, James was named the Eastern Conference Player of the Month twice (January and February), and he captured Eastern Conference Player of the Week honors six times, extending his NBA record for the most Player of the Week awards to 37. James has scored double-figure points in 419 consecutive career games, the seventh-longest streak in NBA history, behind Michael Jordan (866), Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (streaks of 787 and 508), Karl Malone (575), Moses Malone (526), and Oscar Robertson (428).
The NBA MVP trophy is named in honor of the late Maurice Podoloff, the first commissioner of the NBA who served from 1946 until his retirement in 1963.
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