With under a month to go until the All Star Game, one former Buckeye can make an argument as to why he should be included in the festivities in New Orleans. Mike Conley has put up career-high numbers in scoring so far, and helped keep his team afloat after the loss of Marc Gasol for 23 games due to injury. Evan Turner might have been able to state his case as to why he should've been included after a strong start to the season, but lately his numbers have been down, which might make it hard for him to be included in the Eastern Conference squad.
Mike Conley - PG - Memphis Grizzlies
The week for Conley and the Grizzlies was mostly good, with Memphis compiling a 3-1 record in the four games they played last week. Memphis won their first three games of the week, extending their winning streak to five games before dropping a 95-92 decision to New Orleans on Monday. The biggest win of the week for Memphis came on Tuesday night with a 90-87 win over Oklahoma City in which Conley scored 19 points and dished out seven assists. The best game for Conley during the week was in the 91-90 nail-biter against Sacramento on Friday evening. In the game Conley put in 25 points, and grabbed a jump ball with under two seconds left to help the Grizzlies secure the victory. With the recent string of hot play, Memphis has now moved back to the .500 mark, sitting at 20-20 near the halfway mark of the NBA regular season.
Kosta Koufos - F/C - Memphis Grizzlies
As mentioned last week, Marc Gasol was close to returning from injury for the Grizzlies, and Tuesday night he did in the win over Oklahoma City. The return of Gasol meant that decreased minutes were in store for Koufos, and immediately Koufos began to feel those repercussions. In the win over the Thunder, Koufos only saw three minutes of playing time, and didn't do himself any favors to earn more playing time, turning the ball over twice in his short time on the floor. The Grizzlies hit the road the next night and defeated Milwaukee 82-77, and Koufos saw his time on the floor shoot up to 22 minutes. The reason for the brief increase in playing time could be due to the Grizzlies playing back-to-back games, and Memphis not wanting to overuse Gasol in his return. Koufos made the most of his time on the floor, putting in 10 points, grabbing four rebounds, and blocking two shots. The boom in playing time was short-lived though, with Koufos only registering 22 minutes combined in his next two games. While Memphis is thrilled with Gasol returning, they still have a nice luxury of being able to bring Koufos off the bench and spell Gasol when needed.
Evan Turner - G/F - Philadelphia 76ers
Philadelphia was able to snap a four-game losing streak early last week, with a 95-92 win over Charlotte on Wednesday night. Evan Turner helped to power the 76ers to victory, scoring 23 points and pulling down seven rebounds. The success was short-lived though, with Philadelphia dropping their next three games to close the week. While not responsible for all of the issues last week, the lack of offense from Turner in their three losses last week didn't help the struggling 76ers. Turner only scored 11 points in two of those losses, and had seven points in the third, despite being on the floor for nearly 30 minutes in all three losses. The game in which Turner only scored seven points was the worst of the losses for Philadelphia, with the 76ers losing 103-78 in Chicago on Saturday night. The losses have dropped Philadelphia to 13-28 at the halfway mark of the season, which means the only thing really left for Turner to play for is to showcase his skills for his impending free agency that is coming up at season's end.
Jared Sullinger - F/C - Boston Celtics
The week got off to a tremendous start for Sullinger and the Celtics, as they snapped a nine-game losing streak with a 88-83 win over Toronto on Wednesday. Sullinger was the catalyst in the win, blowing up for 25 points and 20 rebounds in the victory. The 20-20 performance by Sullinger was the first by a Celtics player since Kevin Garnett's first game with Boston back in 2007. Sullinger put the capper on the victory for Boston, with four makes from the free throw line in the last 30 seconds to close out his best game as a professional. The rest of the week wasn't so nice for Boston and Sully though, with the Celtics dropping their next two, and Sullinger only combining for 19 points and 15 rebounds in those two games. While parts of his game might still be a work in progress, games like Wednesday night must make the Celtics feel confident that they made the right choice in taking a chance on Sullinger in the draft last year.
Byron Mullens - F/C - Los Angeles Clippers
For the most part it was a week full of DNPs for Mullens last week. The only game that Mullens saw action in was the 106-92 loss at Indiana on Saturday night. In his two minutes on the court, Mullens did have enough time to drain a three-pointer. In his limited time on the court in January, Mullens has made the most of his shots. Mullens has appeared in five games in January and in those games he has gone 4-5 from behind the arc. The Clippers haven't really need Mullens in January though, putting together a 8-2 record so far in the month on their way to a 29-14 record so far this season.
Greg Oden - C - Miami Heat
After months of waiting since signing with the Heat, Greg Oden finally made his first regular season appearance for Miami on Wednesday night in the 114-97 loss to Washington. It was the first regular season game for Oden in over four years, and he made it a memorable one in the eight minutes he was on the court. Oden threw down a couple dunks on his way to six points. Oden sat the next game on Friday night against Philadelphia before appearing again in the 104-96 win against Charlotte. Against the Bobcats, Oden was on the court for five minutes but the appearance wasn't quite as pretty, as he picked up three fouls and registered a turnover. Games like that can be expected though after being away from in-game competition for so long. The good news for Oden and the Heat is that with a 29-12 record so far this season they can afford to bring Oden along slowly, with the goal of him contributing to the team's playoff run.