With the All Star break coming up at the end of next week, a couple Buckeyes received news on what they'd be doing over that weekend. Jared Sullinger was named to the Rising Stars Game, while Mike Conley was denied a spot in the Western Conference reserves even though he was worthy of a slot. It might not have mattered if Conley was named to the All Star Game though because he picked up an ankle injury against Minnesota on Friday night.
Mike Conley - PG - Memphis Grizzlies
Things seemed to be coming together for the Grizzlies and Conley early in the week, with Memphis playing their best basketball of the season. Memphis started the week out on the west coast, and disposed of Portland 98-81 on Tuesday night behind 19 points and seven assists from Conley. The Grizzlies didn't show any signs of tired legs the next night against Sacramento, with Conley besting his performance of the previous night by putting in 27 points and dishing out 10 assists in the 99-89 victory.
Then the week took a turn for Conley when he wasn't named as a reserve for the Western Conference in the All Star Game, while many thought he was worthy of a spot in what has been his best season as a pro. Conley got a little bit of a chance to try and show that he was snubbed the next night at Minnesota, but not quite as long as he wanted. The point guard played 30 minutes and scored 12 points and distributed eight assists before leaving the game with a right ankle sprain. The Grizzlies went on to pull out a 94-90 win, but the loss of Conley for any extended amount of time could make that game feel like a loss.
Conley will be evaluated in a week to determine the severity of his injury and how long he might possibly be out. Memphis split the next two games without Conley, beating Milwaukee on Saturday before losing to Oklahoma City on Monday to snap a six-game winning streak. The Grizzlies have been strong in 2014, racking up a 13-4 record so far in the new year. Memphis has to feel snake bitten after having Marc Gasol return from a lengthy injury a couple weeks ago, now they'll be without Conley for an undetermined amount of time just as they start rolling.
Kosta Koufos - F/C - Memphis Grizzlies
The playing time for Koufos lately has been pretty limited with Marc Gasol looking to be back into the swing of things after returning from being out two months due to injury. The best game during the week came in Monday night's loss to Oklahoma City, where Koufos has seven points and four rebounds in 14 minutes. The 14 minutes against the Thunder marked the most minutes that Koufos played in five Memphis games last week.
The low point for Koufos last week was when he was saddled with a DNP in the Memphis win on Friday night over the Timberwolves. The next night against Milwaukee, Koufos was only on the court for six minutes and was only able to grab two rebounds. Koufos seems to be getting lost in the Memphis bench, and could be an attractive trade target for a team looking for a big man near the trade deadline.
Evan Turner - G/F - Philadelphia 76ers
The 76ers and Turner got off to a strong start last week, sneaking by Boston 95-94 on Wednesday night. Turner had a solid all-around game, putting up 16 points, racking up right assists, and grabbing six boards. That performance didn't translate into much success for himself or the 76ers though, as they dropped the next three games they played.
In two of the games that Philadelphia played, Turner really struggled to get things going on the offensive end. In a blowout loss to Atlanta on Friday, Turner only went 2-10 from the field and finished with six points. While he did account for four assists in the game, they were cancelled out by the four turnovers he committed. The other poor offensive performance came on Monday night against Brooklyn, when he went 3-8 from the field and only scored nine points.
Lately the performances from Turner have been a lot more inconsistent than how he started the season. While some of that could be a product of the 76ers being as bad as they are, Turner could do himself some favors with a strong second half. Free agency is looming for Turner at the end of the season and some more consistent numbers to finish the season could draw in some potential suitors for his services.
Jared Sullinger - F/C - Boston Celtics
After struggling with a dislocated finger the previous week, Sullinger rebounded last week after receiving some good news. It was announced that the second-year player was chosen to play in the NBA Rising Stars Game that takes place the Friday night of All Star Weekend in a couple week. Sullinger showed he was worthy of the honor, having monster games in his final two games of the week.
While Boston lost to Philadelphia 95-94 on Wednesday night, Sullinger did all he could to help his team earn the win. In 35 minutes against the 76ers, Sullinger put home 24 points and completed his double-double by grabbing 17 rebounds. The result was much better for the Celtics was a lot better on Sunday, as they downed Orlando 96-89. Sullinger again notched a double-double with 21 points and 12 rebounds. Sullinger was money from the field on Sunday, making 10 of the 15 shots he took.
The inclusion of Sullinger in the Rising Stars Game means that the Buckeyes will have a representative in a All Star Game competition, which Ohio State hasn't had in a few years. Hopefully the naming to the event will be able to spark a strong second half for Sullinger.
Byron Mullens - F/C - Los Angeles Clippers
It was another week of little activity for Mullens, as the Clippers split the four games they played. The week was bookended by DNPs for Mullens, while he played a combined five minutes in the two games in the middle of the week. The bulk of the activity for Mullens came in the 111-92 loss to Golden State on Thursday, where he played four minutes and sunk a three-pointer and grabbed two rebounds. The other game that Mullens appeared in was against Utah on Saturday where he registered a minute of floor time.
Greg Oden - C - Miami Heat
After playing some sizable minutes the previous week, Miami gave Greg Oden the first two games they played last week off. While still early in his comeback to the court after more than four years on the sidelines, the Heat probably don't want to overload Oden with playing time. The goal is to have Oden healthy and productive for the playoff run, and that can't happen if you burn him out early in his comeback. Against Oklahoma City and New York Oden received DNPs, but came back with 11 minutes of playing time on Monday. In the 102-96 win over the Pistones, Oden registered four points and three rebounds. With the All Star Break coming up at the end of next week, it wouldn't be surprising to see Oden receive more minutes in the final few Heat games before the time off.
- Ohio State vs. Iowa 2014: Time, TV schedule, preview, and more
- Ohio prep hoops: Pickerington Central headlines power rankings despite Tate uncertainty
- Ohio State recruiting: State Secrets, 2/4 - Jamarco Jones, Malik McDowell updates
- Catching up w/ Jamarco Jones' coach on Ohio State, Michigan State decision
- Raekwon McMillan: 2014 Ohio State football player profiles