E.T. helped the 76ers end their skid last week - Howard Smith-USA TODAY Sports
Now that the calendar has turned to March, most of the eyes in the basketball world are tuned to college basketball and the madness that ensues during this month.
This doesn't mean that the NBA goes on vacation during the month though. Quietly the NBA the playoff races are heating up, with about a month and a half left in the regular season there are still many questions left to be answered. The teams in the Eastern Conference are pretty well set, with seven games separating 8th place Milwaukee from 9th place Philadelphia. The Western Conference has a little bit more mystery with only five games separating 6th place Golden State from 10th place Portland.
Mike Conley - PG - Memphis Grizzlies: On Wednesday night Memphis extended their winning streak to eight games, but Mike Conley had a rough night, finishing with only 5 points on 2 of 13 shooting. The Grizzlies couldn't extend their winning streak to nine as they dropped a close game to a hot Miami team. Conley performed considerably better against the Heat, scoring 14 points and dishing out 8 assists. A part of Conley's game that might be overlooked is his ability to create steals. Currently Conley sits second in the NBA with 2.2 steals per game, only trailing Chris Paul. Conley extended his streak to 49 consecutive games with a steal in Sunday's win against Orlando.
Daequan Cook - SG - Chicago Bulls: Last week Cook saw some time in 3 of the 4 games the Bulls played, but didn't see more than 8 minutes in any game. Cook did hit a 3-pointer on Saturday night in a win over Brooklyn, which was his first points since he scored 19 points against Denver on February 7th. The Bulls are only 4-6 in their last 10 games and sit 4th in the Eastern Conference, where three games separate 4th place from 8th.
Kosta Koufos - F/C - Denver Nuggets: After going on a nine-game winning streak in late January/early February, the Nuggets are back streaking again, currently riding a five-game winning streak. To end February, Koufos scored double figures for the third time in the month against Portland, putting in 11 points in Denver's 111-109 victory. Koufos' best game last week was in a close win versus Oklahoma City on Friday, where Kosta scored 8 points, grabbed 13 rebounds, and swatted 3 shots. Even with their recent winning streak, the Nuggets haven't been able to gain any ground on Memphis for 4th in the Western Conference, as the Grizzlies are 9-1 in their last 10 games.
Byron Mullens - F/C - Charlotte Bobcats: Just over a month after returning to Charlotte's lineup after missing a month due to a sprained ankle, Mullens is again dealing with a injury. Luckily for Mullens, the knee issue doesn't seem to be nearly as serious as the sprained ankle that Mullens suffered before Christmas. Much like with his ankle injury, since the Bobcats are nowhere near the playoffs there is no rush to push Mullens to get back on the floor. The best option for him right now is to get some extra rest and let the knee heal to where he feels comfortable playing on it. In the games last week before the knee issue slowed Mullens, he was right around his average in scoring, putting in 13 points in two games and 12 points in the other. The Bobcats are in the middle of a seven-game losing streak, where only one of those games they have lost by less than double-digits.
Evan Turner - G/F - Philadelphia 76ers: On Saturday night Evan Turner messed around and almost got himself a triple-double, as the 76ers snapped a 7-game losing streak with a win against Golden State. The Villain went 10-15 from the field and finished with 22 points to go along with 10 rebounds and 9 assists. In a loss the next night against Washington, Turner notched his second straight double-double with 11 points and 10 rebounds. With his performance on Sunday, Turner now has registered 12 double-doubles on the season.