NBA teams are down to less than 10 games left in the regular season, and the playoffs are less than three weeks away from starting. For former Buckeye Byron Mullens, injuries have plauged his season and the schedule probably can't wind down quick enough. While the others that have already punched their playoff ticket, would have no problem playing well into June.
Mike Conley - PG - Memphis Grizzlies: Mike Conley had really picked up his scoring lately, and that was capped with a game-winning layup on Monday night against the Spurs with 0.6 seconds left. Conley finished with 23 points against the Spurs and has now scored at least 15 points in eight of his last nine games, bringing his scoring average on the season to 14.4 points per game. On Wednesday night against the Knicks, Conley put in a season-high 26 points, but the Grizzlies got behind early and were never able to catch back up. Memphis has won their last three games, and are in a battle for seeding with Denver and the Clippers. The three teams are separated by 1.5 in the battle for the third seed in the Western Conference. With the Clippers leading the Pacific Division, they are guaranteed to finish no worse than fourth in the conference.
Daequan Cook - SG - Chicago Bulls: Cook saw his increased playing time lately continue last week, appearing in all three games the Bulls played. Not only did Cook see a quarter's worth of action as the Bulls snapped the 27-game winning streak of the Miami Heat on Wednesday, he also recorded his highest point total in almost two months on Sunday. In 25 minutes on the court in the Bulls 95-94 win against the Pistons on Sunday, Cook scored 10 points and grabbed 6 rebounds. Cook last hit double digits on the scoring sheet on February 7th when he scored 19 points against the Nuggets. The Bulls have now 4 of their last 5 and are within a game and a half of Brooklyn for fourth place in the Eastern Conference.
Kosta Koufos - F/C - Denver Nuggets: After having their 15-game winning streak snapped against New Orleans last Monday, the Nuggets followed that up with a heartbreaking 100-99 loss at San Antonio on Wednesday night. Koufos had only 4 points and 5 rebounds against the Spurs, and finished with a +/- of -17 when he was on the court. The Nuggets and Koufos regained their form on Friday night, with a 109-87 win against Brooklyn. Koufos hit six of the eight shots he took and finished with 13 points and 9 rebounds in the blowout victory. Denver now sits in third place in the Western Conference, holding a tiebreaker over Memphis, and sitting just ahead of the Clippers.
Byron Mullens - F/C - Charlotte Bobcats: Mullens has missed the last three games with a sore left ankle. The ankle was the same one that he sprained back in December, causing him to miss six weeks earlier this season. Mullens did appear in one game last week for Charlotte, playing almost 14 minutes in the 114-108 victory that the Bobcats had over the Magic on Wednesday night. Charlotte coach Mike Dunlap said before the game that Mullens was close to returning to action, but like with some of the other injury issues that Mullens has had this season, there is no reason in rushing him back with Charlotte being well out of the playoff hunt.
Evan Turner - G/F - Philadelphia 76ers: Last week Turner feasted on two of then basement dwellers in the Eastern Conference on back-to-back nights. On Friday night against Cleveland, Turner scored 13 points in the first seven minutes of the third quarter, and finished with 23 points and 13 rebounds on the evening. The next night on Allen Iverson Bobblehead Night in Philadelphia, Turner scored 22 points and hauled in 7 rebounds in the 76ers' victory. Turner was the high scorer for Philadelphia in both games, and Friday's game was the first since March 2nd in which Turner eclipsed the 20 point mark. Philadelphia has now won their last three games, but it looks to be too late, too late for the 76ers who still sit six games behind Milwaukee for 8th place in the Eastern Conference.