There is just over a week left in the NBA season, there is still a couple playoff spots to determine, and a couple former Buckeyes in the thick of the chase in the Western Conference. Memphis sits a game back of eighth place in the Western Conference, with the Grizzlies having five games left to play. Memphis isn't the only team dealing with a tight playoff race right now. Indiana has a different type of race going, with the Pacers now sitting a game back of Miami for first place in the Eastern Conference. Indiana is going to need Evan Turner to snap out of the funk he has seemed to have been in since he has been acquired if they want to keep Miami from pulling away in the race.
Mike Conley - PG - Memphis Grizzlies
Last week wasn't quite the week that Memphis was hoping for with the team in a fight for the last couple spots in the playoff race in the Western Conference. The week got off to a rough start for Conley and Memphis in a 102-88 loss at Minnesota on Wednesday night. Conley shot an ugly 3-15 in the loss, and only finished with seven points to go along with eight assists in 33 minutes.
The Grizzlies rebounded on Friday against Denver, earning a 100-92 back home in Memphis. Conley still struggled from the field, shooting only 5-14, but was helped by going 10-11 from the free throw line on his way to 21 points in the game. Along with his scoring production, Conley added four assists, five rebounds, and two assists.
The good times didn't last long for Memphis, as they dropped a 112-92 decision at San Antonio. Conley had some better success from the field on Sunday compared to earlier on the week, shooting 8-13 from the field to finish with 18 points and six assists.
Memphis is now a game back of eighth place Phoenix, and a game and a half behind Dallas for seventh. The Grizzlies have five games left, with winnable matchups against Philadelphia and the Lakers left, along with matchups against Phoenix and Dallas to close out the season. The matchups with the Suns and Mavericks look like they'll have a huge impact on determining who will still be playing basketball in a few weeks.
Kosta Koufos - F/C - Memphis Grizzlies
It was a down week for Memphis, and that was also true for Kosta Koufos. The only performance where Koufos was able to make much noise on the stat-sheet came against San Antonio on Sunday, but the Grizzlies would up losing the game 112-92. Koufos finished the game with eight points, five rebounds, and two blocks in 17 minutes. In the other two games during the week Koufos played a combined 19 minutes, and only scored two points to go along with five rebounds.
With the playoff race coming down to the wire for the Grizzlies, they'll need more out of Koufos to try and take some of the pressure off of Marc Gasol. While Gasol is one of the stars of the Grizzlies, Memphis needs to get Koufos engaged in the game, and performing at high levels when he is called to come off the bench. Memphis did a great job to stay in the playoff hunt while Koufos was starting for an injured Gasol, but they'll need a little more production out of him if they want to finish the job.
Evan Turner - G/F - Indiana Pacers
The struggles of not only Evan Turner, but also the Indiana Pacers continued last week, with Indiana dropping two of the three games they played, and getting overtaken by Miami for first place in the Eastern Conference. The week for Turner wasn't much to speak of, with the former Buckeye star shooting only 6-20 combined in the three games.
The worst game of the week for Turner came in the 102-94 loss at Toronto on Friday night, when he went 1-8 from the field and only finished with just two points to go along with five rebounds. On Sunday the Pacers losing ways continued with a 107-88 defeat at the hands of Atlanta, but Turner did put in his highest point total of the week, scoring six points, dished out four assists, and grabbed three rebounds.
After looking so dominate for much of the season, Indiana has really fallen on hard times, seeing their lead over Miami for home-court throughout the Eastern Conference playoffs disappear. The Pacers will get a chance to make up a little of that ground when they travel to Miami to take on the Heat on Friday. Not only with Miami on deck on Friday, but also a matchup against Oklahoma City on Sunday, Indiana and Turner will have to step up their game if they want to build a little momentum heading into the playoffs.
Jared Sullinger - F/C - Boston Celtics
With Kris Humphries dealing with knee tendinitis, Sullinger saw a boost in his minutes in a couple games last week, allowing him to put up some of the numbers that we saw from him early in the season. Sullinger started off the week playing 36 minutes in the 118-92 loss to Washington, and scoring 25 points. A couple days later Boston suffered a loss to the lowly 76ers, where Sullinger scored 10 points and grabbed six rebounds, but fouled out after playing 30 minutes in the game.
The best game of the week for Sullinger came the next night in a loss to Detroit, where Sullinger registered a double-double, scoring 22 points, grabbing 10 rebounds, and also dishing out five assists in 36 minutes of play. Sullinger went 4-6 from three-pointer, tying his career-high for three-pointers made in a NBA game. Two other times this season Sullinger has hit four triples, with the most recent occurrence coming on March 26th against Toronto. It wasn't all good news for Sullinger in Saturday night's game, as he ended the game with a bruised left thigh, which leaves his status for Boston's next game on Wednesday night up in the air.
Byron Mullens - F/C - Philadelphia 76ers
Mullens is still hampered by a sprained ankle, which caused him to miss all three games that the 76ers played last week. Since suffering the ankle sprain a couple weeks ago, Mullens has now missed five games in a row. After coming over during Philadelphia's 26-game losing streak, Mullens has missed the two wins that the 76ers have secured over the past two weeks due to his ankle injury. With just over a week left it is hard to say whether Mullens will be able to return for the last few games that are left in Philadelphia's season.
Greg Oden - C - Miami Heat
Much like Mullens, Greg Oden didn't see any time on the court last week for Miami. The center missed all three games last week, and now has missed six games in a row. The situations between Oden and Mullens are might different though, with Miami having now taken over the top spot in the Eastern Conference from a struggling Indiana team. With Oden's past injury history, the time off could just be precautionary to help the center be as close to full strength as possible for what should be a lengthy playoff run for Miami. The Heat do have a full schedule the rest of the regular season, with six games in the final nine days, so it wouldn't be surprising to see Oden see some action in a couple of those games to knock any rust he might have off heading into the playoffs.