Saunders, Johnson earn coach of month honors

NEW YORK -- Flip Saunders of the Detroit Pistons and the Dallas Mavericks' Avery Johnson on Wednesday were named the NBA's coaches of the month for January.

The Eastern Conference coach of the month, Saunders led the Pistons to a 13-2 record, including an NBA season-high 11-game winning streak, to tie the franchise record for most wins in January.

The Pistons led the league in point differential, averaging 99.8
points while allowing only 88.7, and held their opponent to fewer than 100 points in 14 out of 15 games last month.

Saunders also earned coaching honors for the Eastern Conference
All-Stars with a 117-89 win over the Hawks on Jan. 18.

Johnson, the 2006 Western Conference All-Star coach, led the Mavericks to a nine-game winning streak to finish the month 13-2, recording the most wins in the month of January in team history.

The Mavericks went undefeated during a five-game road trip while
also recording a 6-0 record at home during the month. With a 103-89 victory over the Jazz on Saturday, Johnson surpassed Red Auerbach and Al Cervi (both 50-13) as the fastest coach to 50 wins, doing so in 62 games.

Other nominees for the coach of the month awards were the Denver
Nuggets' George Karl, the Los Angeles Clippers' Mike Dunleavy, Pat Riley of the Miami Heat, the New Orleans Hornets' Byron Scott and Gregg Popovich of the San Antonio Spurs.