The biggest winner of the past week seems to be Jared Sullinger, whose Celtics dealt the Knicks one of their worst losses in franchise history on Sunday. Boston is inching towards the .500 mark, and has been a lot more competitive than most thought they would be coming into the season. While the Celtics are rolling, one of the bigger disappointments so far in the NBA has been Memphis, who is only off to a 10-10 start in the first quarter of the season. The problem though hasn't been with Mike Conley and Kosta Koufos, who has been a bright spot in filling in for the injured Marc Gasol. Once the Grizzlies get fully healthy it wouldn't be a surprise to see the Memphis get back into playoff position.
Mike Conley - PG - Memphis Grizzlies
In the middle of a six-game homestand, Memphis split the four games they played over the past week. In last Tuesday's 110-91 win over Phoenix, Conley dished out a season-high 14 assists. That marked the third game in the last four that he had reached double-digits in assists. The rest of the week didn't go quite as well for Conley, as in the next three games he was credited with a combined 13 assists. After beating the Suns by 19 points, the Grizzlies lost their next two games by 20 points and 26 points to the Clippers and Warriors, respectively. While scoring has been up for Conley this year, one area that has been down from the last few years has been Conley's ability to create steals. The past two years have seen Conley average 2.2 steals/game, which was near the top of the NBA. While this year Conley has only been able to average 1.5 steals/game. Some of that could be a product of all the injuries that the Grizzlies have suffered so far this year, and even more offensive responsibilities that Conley has had to shoulder, leaving the defensive end to suffer a little. If Memphis is able to get back to full strength, then maybe Conley's defensive numbers could return to normal.
Kosta Koufos - F/C - Memphis Grizzlies
The strong play of Kosta Koufos continued last week while he fills the starting center spot for the injured Marc Gasol. Only once in the past seven games has Koufos failed to hit double figures in rebounds, and even in that game he still grabbed 9 boards in the 101-81 loss to the Clippers. In the losing effort in the game against the Clippers, Koufos poured in a season-high 17 points. A couple nights later in a 108-82 loss to Golden State, Koufos again set another season-high, this time grabbing 16 rebounds in defeat. In the past five games Koufos has been able to notch three double-doubles, and was only a rebound away from a fourth in the loss to the Clippers. Even when Gasol comes back from his injury, smart money would be on Koufos having earned more minutes that he was seeing earlier in the season when Gasol was healthy.
Evan Turner - G/F - Philadelphia 76ers
The week got off to a thrilling start for Turner and the 76ers, with a 126-125 win over Orlando in double-overtime on Tuesday night. It seemed like the game had a little bit of everything for Turner, as he scored 24 points, grabbed 6 rebounds, and dropped 5 assists. It wasn't all good though in the win, with Turner committing 8 turnovers and fouling out after 42 minutes on the court. That would be the only game out of the four that the 76ers played last week that they would win. Saturday night saw Turner play one of his worst games of the season in the 103-92 loss to Denver, in which he would only score 6 points on 3-12 shooting. The slump seemed to be short-lived though, with Turner scoring 25 points to go along with 8 rebounds and 5 assists against the Clippers on Monday night. While Turner's scoring this year is up over 7 points/game compared to last year, he is also trying to create offense for others, dealing out 5 assists in three of his last four games.
Jared Sullinger - F/C - Boston Celtics
The Celtics won all three games they played last week to move their record to 10-12 on the season, and open up a two-game lead in the lowly Atlantic Division. The highlight of the week for Boston was the 41-point beatdown that they put on the Knicks on Sunday afternoon at Madison Square Garden. Sullinger had his highest scoring output of the week in the blowout, putting up 21 points in 27 minutes of floor time. In the other two victories for the Celtics, Sullinger only scored a combined 20 points in wins over Milwaukee and Denver. The Celtics have now won three of four, and will have a chance to put some more distance on their division rivals this week with games against the Nets and the Knicks on tap.
Byron Mullens - F/C - Los Angeles Clippers
Wednesday night saw Mullens see his first action and score his first points since November 24th, but he didn't get much of either in the loss to Atlanta. Mullens was only on the floor for a couple minutes, but did have the time to take two shots, making one of them to finish with 2 points. The other three games of the week saw Mullens put they "DNP - Coach's Decision" that has been plaguing him lately.