SALT LAKE CITY — With less than three weeks left in the 2012-13 NBA season, the Utah Jazz finally earned an award from the league.
Center Al Jefferson has been named the Western Conference player of the week after leading the Jazz to a 4-0 record from March 25-31. Big Al averaged 19.8 points, 8.3 rebounds, 2.3 steals and 1.5 blocks during the pivotal week, which helped the Jazz work their way back into the eighth and final playoff spot out West.
Jefferson's highlights last week included a 25-point game in a 103-88 win over Phoenix, 22 points and four steals in a 105-95 comeback win at Portland, and 20 points, seven boards, three steals, two assists and two blocks in Saturday's 116-107 victory against Brooklyn.
Jefferson has now been named a player of the week five times in his nine-year career, including twice with the Jazz (April 23, 2012).
Big Al is averaging a Jazz-best 17.4 points and 9.1 rebounds. He's also tallying 2.1 assists, 1.16 blocks and 1.0 steal per game for his 38-36 team.
Knicks' guard J.R. Smith is the Eastern Conference player of the week. He averaged 29.8 points and 7.0 rebounds in four New York wins, and had three straight 30-point games.
Other nominees for the Eastern and Western Conference Players of the Week: Jeff Green (Boston), Dirk Nowitzki (Dallas), Roy Hibbert (Indiana), Mike Conley (Memphis), Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook (Oklahoma City), Tobias Harris (Orlando), DeMarcus Cousins (Sacramento) and Tim Duncan (San Antonio).
The award was announced after this morning's post-shootaround media availability.