Kosta playing big lately for the Nuggets - Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports
Lately the NBA teams of former Buckeye basketballers have put together some big winning and losing streaks as we close in on a month left in the regular season.
Memphis and Denver are doing their best to keep pressure on division-leaders San Antonio and Denver, with both the Grizzlies and Nuggets going 9-1 over their last 10 games. On the opposite side of the coin, Charlotte and Philadelphia are really struggling to find victories. You can see how the performances of Buckeyes on the rosters of those teams have correlated with their teams success. Mike Conley and Kosta Koufos have put up some strong play and their teams have followed. Byron Mullens and Evan Turner? Not so much. Even with the losing streaks, Mullens and Turner should be glad they aren't Daequan Cook, and they see the court on a regular basis.
Mike Conley - PG - Memphis Grizzlies: Right now an argument could be made that over the past week Mike Conley has been one of the best players in the NBA. Not only have the Grizzlies won four straight games and 12 of their last 13, but Conley has averaged nearly 20 points per game and just over 8 assists. While all three games that Conley played last week were strong performances, the standout game was on Friday night in Cleveland. Not only did Conley score 17 points, but he also added 11 assists and 5 steals. The victory over the Cavs was the fifth game of the season where Conley dished out double-digit assists. If Conley continues his hot play, and the Spurs falter while Tony Parker is injured, Memphis could make things interesting in the Southwest Division race.
Daequan Cook - SG - Chicago Bulls: Daequan only appeared in one of the three games that the Bulls played last week. Cook was only on the floor for 6:30 in the Bulls 18-point loss to the Spurs, missing all three shots that he took.
Kosta Koufos - F/C - Denver Nuggets: Monday night saw Kosta Koufos pour in a career-high 22 points along with grabbing 10 rebounds against Phoenix as the Nuggets won their ninth straight game. Koufos was 10-11 from the field, with most of his shots coming from close range. Currently Koufos sits 3rd in the NBA in field goal percentage, shooting 61.2% from the field. It seems to be a trend that about once a week Koufos will give the Nuggets a game with double-digit points and/or rebounds. Denver got a bonus last week because not only did Koufos give them the big numbers on Monday night, but he also added 15 points against Sacramento on Tuesday night. Even with their winning streak, Denver hasn't been able to cut much off of Oklahoma City's lead in the Northwest Division. While Denver has gone 9-1 over their last 10 games, Oklahoma City has gone 8-2 over the same span.
Byron Mullens - F/C - Charlotte Bobcats: Last week saw Mullens get a rude awakening from head coach Mike Dunlap as Mullens only played five minutes against Washington on Saturday. Dunlap said that the limited time on the floor on Saturday for Mullens was due to his lack of rebounding production. Over the past 10 games Mullens has only averaged 3.4 rebounds/game. Mullens minutes had been down a little bit over the past week as he was dealing with a sore knee that started acting up during the Portland game last Monday, but Dunlap made sure to note that Saturday's lack of time on the court was a teaching lesson about rebounding. With or without Mullens in the starting lineup the Bobcats are still a mess, having now lost their last 10 games.
Evan Turner - G/F - Philadelphia 76ers: Much like the rest of his 76er teammates, Turner has turned in some ugly shooting lately. Even though the 76ers broke a five-game losing streak on Monday night against the Nets, Turner really struggled, going 6-18 from the field. Over the past week Turner has gone 19-62 from the field, and had two games where he didn't even reach double figures. The worst game of the week for Turner came on Wednesday where he put in only 2 points and grabbed 3 rebounds in the loss to Atlanta. Nothing has gone right for the 76ers lately, as they have lost 12 of their last 14 games.