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The W - Basketball - A thought about East vs. West...
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ekedolphin
Scrapple








Since: 12.1.02
From: Indianapolis, IN; now residing in Suffolk, VA

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#1 Posted on | Instant Rating: 5.01

It has been said on more than one occasion that the NBA's Western Conference is overwhelmingly superior to the Eastern Conference. And a quick glance at the standings reveals that the top four teams in the West (Sacramento, L.A. Lakers, Dallas and San Antonio) all have better records than the best team in the East (New Jersey).



But on the flip side of that argument, can't it also be said that the Eastern Conference's playoff race is more competitive than that of the Western Conference? In the West, only nine teams still have a mathematical chance of making the playoffs-- and the L.A. Clippers are very close to being mathematically eliminated as well. But in the East, twelve teams still have a mathematical chance (if not necessarily a good chance) of making the playoffs. In addition to the top eight teams in the conference, we have Indiana, Washington, Miami and Atlanta all still technically in the playoff race. It's true that those four teams, as well as eighth-place Toronto, have losing records. But can't that be attributed to the belief that in the East, anyone can beat anyone at any given time, while that's not necessarily the case in the West?



Am I making any sense here?

(edited by ekedolphin on 5.4.02 1542)


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Dr Unlikely
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Since: 2.1.02

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#2 Posted on
I want to believe that, being a fan of the East, but the race for the last few spots in the East is more "who's bad enough to not get a playoff spot" than anything else, right now.

The playoff matches themselves should be interesting in the East once everything shakes out, because everyone likely to get in matches up with at least someone else and every team seems to have teams they need to try to avoid. So both the East and West should end up having playoff games and series worth watching with internally consistent quality, even if the West appears to be pretty superior overall.
Triple Preperation H
Chipolata








Since: 26.3.02
From: Chesapeake VA

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#3 Posted on
There are 15 series that make up the NBA Playoffs. The 7 out of the West and 7 out of the East could all be outstanding. In the West, with the exception of Utah and probably Seattle, you wouldn't be too terribly shocked at any of the outcomes of the first round matchups. Sure Minnesota has struggled and Portland is Portland, so whomever the Lakers draw should be bounced, but both of those squads have played excellent at times during this year and are capable of just about anything. You wouldn't expect them to win, but it is possible. Sort of like Indiana over Oklahoma in the Final Four.

The difference between the conferences is this. In the West, you may have an "upset" (used loosely) here or there, but in the end you expect one of the top four teams (Sacramento, LA, Dallas, San Antonio) to be left standing. In the East however, the team that gets in as the 8th seed might wind up in the NBA Finals. The top of the conference has little playoff experience (the "experts" keep telling us this is important), while the bottom teams are all loaded with outside distractions. I think the Bucks clearly have the most talent, but they also have their own nWo injection of poison in the locker room, and a Vince McMahon who seems determined to help kill his own creation (George Karl).

The point is, until we get the NBA Finals, we should see a bunch of highly contested, close and emotional basketball games. Once the Finals get here, whoever emerges out of the West will roll, probably 4-0 or 4-1. While the East may be overall more competitive, the West is far superior. If you move any of the Top 6 teams from the West to the East, they are the #1 seed and clear favorites to represent the conference in the Finals. You can't compare records between the Eastern and Western teams because they don't play the same schedule. Portland will have played Dallas, Sacramento, San Antonio, LA, and Minnesota a total of 20 times by the end of the season, while New Jersey has only faced those teams 8 times.

It comes down to weather you want to see close basketball games or well played basketball games. Which do you prefer?



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Quezzy
Knackwurst








Since: 6.1.02
From: The Moon

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#4 Posted on
I might just be reinterating what Triple Prep just said but I'll say it anyway. There is a bigger race in the East to get the final spots, but once the playoffs roll around the West will be just as competitive if not more competitive than the East. Reason being, the East playoffs will be competitive but ugly games, the West playoffs will be competitive and should be more exciting.

In the West, the 8 seed Jazz could give the Kings a challenge but the Kings should win, wouldn't be surprised if it's 5 games though. The 7 seed Sonics probably are the only team that don't have a shot. The 6 seed TWolves could possibly do something against the Lakers if Shaq is not healthy. And I think the 5 seed Blazers COULD beat any of the top 4 teams.

Meanwhile in the East, anybody has a legit shot of beating anyone in the playoffs. Someone said (i don't remember who) that the best team in the East is the Hornets even though they are in 5th and I'll tend to agree with that. They have Mashburn, Baron Davis, and then they have two pretty good big guys (atleast compared to the rest of the East) in PJ Brown and Elden Campbell. THen they also have some other role players like Augmon, Magloire, and Nailon. Also I'd say watch out for Orlando. In the East it's probably more possible for one player to take over a game and carry their team on their back and right now nobody is poised to do that more than Tracy McGrady. Also they climbed into the 4th spot and held on to it without Mike Miller, now Miller is back to add and outside threat. Right now Charlotte and Orlando would play in the first round and i'd put my money on the winner of that series going to the Finals.

As for the notion that top to bottom the East is more competitive, I don't agree with that, there are just more teams in the East still in the playoffs because they aren't as good. But i wouldn't say the bottom four teams in the East (Hawks, Knicks, Cavs, Bulls) are any more competitve than the four bottom teams in the West (Rockets, Nuggets, Warriors, Grizzlies)



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JayJayDean
Scrapple








Since: 2.1.02
From: Seattle, WA

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#5 Posted on
The Sonics have won a ton more games than anyone expected and last week they beat San Antonio and then won at Portland the next night without Rashard Lewis or Vladimir Radmanovic, and both of those guys will be back by the time the playoffs start. At one point during the Blazer game the lineup the Sonics had on the floor was Randy Livingston, Desmond Mason, Ansu Sesay, Predrag Drobnjak and Brent Barry, yet they still won. Nate MacMillan and Dwane Casey are coaching their asses off, and they went to San Antonio and lost on a shot with 5 seconds left last week.

Once Rashard and Radmanovic come back, there is no way the Sonics are the *one* Western Conference team with no shot to win their first-round series, unless they play the Lakers which seems extremely unlikely at this point.
Quezzy
Knackwurst








Since: 6.1.02
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#6 Posted on
So they won two games against the Blazers and Spurs, big deal. That's just one game against either, not an entire series. The Chicago Bulls also beat the Lakers twice, are they going to get past the first round of the playoffs too??

I like to base who is good on the entire season rather than just one week of play. And those two wins against the Spurs and Blazers made their record against West playoff teams 8 - 16. And maybe you didn't notice but that same Spurs team they beat, turned around and beat the Sonics the next week, so I wouldn't exactly say they are on a rol or anything, especially since they have lost three games in a row, and two of those games were against two horrible teams (the Rockets and Knicks). And it will only get harder in the playoffs. There is no way Duncan would let the Spurs lose in the first round. There is no way the Sonics can outscore the Mavericks and the Lakers and Kings are both just way too good.

Oh but Rashard Lewis and Vladmir Radmanovic are coming back!

Please, it's not like they are Shaq returning to the Lakers or Iverson returning to the 76ers.



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JayJayDean
Scrapple








Since: 2.1.02
From: Seattle, WA

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Y!:
#7 Posted on
Ok, let me dumb this down for everyone (or maybe just one person)...

The Sonics are playing shorthanded and beating playoff teams, at home and on the road.

They lost at the Spurs by two points without two of their best players.

They went to Sacramento this year and won. They went to Dallas this year and won. They went to Los Angeles and beat the Lakers.

They can hang with the top teams in the West. Will they beat Sacramento or Dallas in a first-round series? Probably not. But they've beaten those teams, including San Antonio who they have no business being on the floor with, so I'm saying that giving them ZERO chance to win a first-round series is no giving them enough credit for how good they are.
Quezzy
Knackwurst








Since: 6.1.02
From: The Moon

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#8 Posted on

    Originally posted by JayJayDean
    Ok, let me dumb this down for everyone (or maybe just one person)...

    The Sonics are playing shorthanded and beating playoff teams, at home and on the road.

    They lost at the Spurs by two points without two of their best players.

    They went to Sacramento this year and won. They went to Dallas this year and won. They went to Los Angeles and beat the Lakers.

    They can hang with the top teams in the West. Will they beat Sacramento or Dallas in a first-round series? Probably not. But they've beaten those teams, including San Antonio who they have no business being on the floor with, so I'm saying that giving them ZERO chance to win a first-round series is no giving them enough credit for how good they are.



They have gone 2 - 2 agasint the Spurs I'll give them that, but all those other teams they have one win against, they also have 2 or 3 losses against. Anybody can win one out of four games, i bet there are very few series this year where one team beat the other four times. But until the Sonics actually beat one of these teams more times than they lose to them then I'll consider them a threat.



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Triple Preperation H
Chipolata








Since: 26.3.02
From: Chesapeake VA

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#9 Posted on

    Originally posted by Quezzy
    Someone said (i don't remember who) that the best team in the East is the Hornets even though they are in 5th and I'll tend to agree with that.


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BDC
Chourico








Since: 26.1.02
From: Falls Church, VA

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#10 Posted on
I'll dumb it down even further. Whoever comes out of the East is getting swept in the finals by whoever comes out of the West.

BDC



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Good point on Darko being on such a good team. If the Pistons don't come out of the East next year, there is something wrong. I also think that Darko is just not going to be as impressive as his high draft selection might warrant.
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