East vs. West Weeks 12 & 13: Atlanta and the East hold their own

After a two-week hiatus, Chicken Noodle Hoop is back with an East vs. West roundup. Since Week 11, 42 non-conference games went down and the East held their own by going 20-22, including 67-78 over the last six weeks. Not great, obviously, but not bad really, though the West ran 8.4 wins below their Pythagorean record.

Below are the updated standings through Sunday. After that I’ll do a quick summary of each conference over the last couple of weeks.

The West

  • The top nine teams (New Orleans replaced with Oklahoma City, since Anthony Davis missed some games) went 17-8 with a +5.28 point differential. They also had 12 road games, so the home-road games were split. The same teams against the top five East squads went 4-5 with a -4.22 point differential. San Antonio and Oklahoma City got the worst of it.
  • So that means the worst of the West was, well, bad. 5-12. This was the weirdest stretch of the season from New Orleans, losing to New York, Philadelphia, and Boston. There’s no way that doesn’t haunt them when looking back on how they didn’t make the playoffs this season.

The East

  • Atlanta is obviously hot, SO HOT RIGHT NOW, but Cleveland looks much better than what we’ve previously seen from them. LeBron James looks like his old self. So, too, does J.R. Smith. This piece about his threes was nice. The top five East teams went 10-5 against the West, and as mentioned above performed well against the best of the West.
  • Boston survived a road trip out West, which was surprising to see from the post-2013 Celtics. The post-Rajon Rondo squad right now is, um, interesting? Two crazy wins against Denver and Portland, plus a chance to upset the Clips. They even rate well in my Watchability Rankings, though they’re declining in that metric.
  • Kevin Garnett stuck on the declining Nets bums me out every day, though this writeup about his career was fantastic. The Nets got washed against the West, outscored by 106 points and finishing 1-4. Atlanta can take Brooklyn’s first round pick if they choose, so this could be a monstrous year for the Hawks in more ways than one.
  • In the rest of the mediocre East, Miami went 2-2 (HASSANITY) while Milwaukee, Indiana, Orlando, and Charlotte went a combined 1-6. Ew. Luckily New York and Philadelphia picked on an Anthony Davis-less Pelicans squad that still should’ve been fine against the most heavily-armed tanks in the league.

Overall, the record-setting point differential has disappeared and the worst-half of the West still has plenty of non-conference games remaining. Below is a look at what games are left to play with top eight seeds shaded:

gams

Atlanta, the team that saved the East from disaster?

The West teams still have an uneven distribution of East games remaining, though maybe this is typical because of geography. Teams furthest out West are are among the ones with most and least non-conference games, which obviously includes Golden State, undefeated against the East with a mammoth game against Atlanta on February 6. WEEEEEEEEEEEE!

57 non-conference games will be played out from, well, yesterday to the all-star break with the West 2-1 so far. I probably won’t update this until that mid-season break since there are a bunch of other posts I’m trying to write up.

East vs. West Week 11: Detroit, Atlanta ruin big week for the West

A day late again because, well, I actually like posting on Tuesdays. I’ll be posting Watchability Rankings on Mondays at Nylon Calculus anyway, and it’s kind of cool to already have a small percentage of non-conference games played out before previewing the week.

So by win-loss and point differential, Week 11 was pretty average with the West going 13-10 with a margin of victory of +4.61. Below are the non-conference summaries:

Week 11 scores:

week11results

Should the color scales be reversed?

By point differential, the West ran over two wins worse than expected in Week 11 and nearly six wins worse over the last three weeks. Games against Cleveland, New York, Orlando, and Philadelphia are largely to blame. They aren’t the only East teams to lose against the West, but they’re getting squashed.

How about Detroit with Jodie Meeks and without Josh Smith, though? Seriously, what the hell? They beat two-thirds of the Texas Triangle last week, which may or may not have an impact on the final East vs. West record, and they spoiled a huge Week 11 for the West. They are running super hot to where they remind me of this insane hand in poker.

Also, the Atlanta Hawks are amazing. They snagged victories over the Clippers and Grizzlies which deserve more love than just two sentences. I am a terrible person for doing just that.

The Hawks don’t play a West foe in Week 12, though, and the Pistons only play one. So now I wonder how much of the non-conference records each year have to do with teams playing East vs. West games when they’re hot, cold, injured, very healthy, etc. I mean, I like to think it balances out over 450 games, but who knows? It seems like the East has more problems with those elements than out West, but I didn’t research that at all before writing it down, so…

Week 12’s schedule is below. Somehow only 18 games, yet the East has a 12-6 home-road advantage:

week12

Houston (two non-conference games this week), New Orleans (four), Memphis (two), and San Antonio (two) take road trips out East while Brooklyn and Orlando play host to a couple of them. Miami and Cleveland also play three non-conference games this week, though they’re all on the road. It’s a crucial point in the season for both teams for a variety of reasons. Atlanta, Chicago, Milwaukee, and New York are absent which, for the most part, that’s not great for the East. Out West, the Pacific Division holds all of the West’s home games. They hold all of the cards, heh, or something. Not really, it just sounds cool, maybe.

Welp.

Enjoy the rest of the week.

East vs. West Week 10: Pythagorean madness

RIP Stuart Scott, who died Sunday at the age of 49.

A little late with the weekly roundup thanks to having the worst sleep schedule on planet earth.

Despite a legitimate Week 10 schedule for non-conference games, the West went 15-7 with a +10 point differential. That margin of victory made for a Pythagorean record of 17.6-4.4. Looking at the season so far, Week 10’s 2.6 win difference between the two win metrics is the largest we’ve seen this season. COOL. PYTHSANITY.

Below is the week-by-week summary below and actual scores from last week:

week10

So some large margins of victory came at the hands of East teams possibly running out of gas during their road trips out west. Philadelphia, Toronto, and Washington got, for the most part, roasted. In particular, this did not look fun for Washington:

Atlanta was/still is in good shape, though, having won at Utah and Portland on a back-to-back and the Clippers yesterday. WHOA. The top-5 or so out East gives the conference hope but it’s only January, for better or for worse.

Week 10 wasn’t pretty for all West teams anyway. The Sacramento Kings continued their downward spiral by going 0-3 on their road trip at Brooklyn, Boston, and the rising Detroit.

That’s about it for the bad times out West, though. A look into Week 11:

week11sched

The West enjoys another week of more home games, 14-9, though they already lost three of them. Cleveland, Detroit, Indiana, Miami, and Orlando will be traveling while Atlanta and Washington finished up their road trips last night.

Maybe this week will be different for the East. There are a lot of games featuring decent to pretty good teams from that conference and maybe they can squeak out an extra win or two compared to last week. But I’m not that picky. Losing by less than 20 points works, too. We need some more games that go down to the wire, specifically Cleveland @ Golden State on Friday.

Until next week.

East vs. West Week 9: The East finally breaks through

After six weeks of embarrassment and two of mediocrity, the East finally had a breakthrough week in non-conference play, finishing Week 9 10-6. Time for the occasional celebration with a ham sandwich.

Toronto, Atlanta, and Chicago cleaned up for the East while New York, well, no. Just, no. For the West, the Clippers and Nuggets struggled in their multiple non-conference games while Portland took care of business against New York and Philadelphia. Not sure which team is better than the other, but kind of want to lean towards the Sixers.

Anyway, catch up on Week 9 and every other week if you’d like. Below is the week-by-week breakdown and the rest of the latest batch of non-conference scores.

week9

Experimenting with table formatting, if you didn’t notice already.

If you missed Week 8’s summary, I also compared this season’s non-conference numbers with the last 44 seasons. Turns out the West had a record-breaking win percentage, along with the third-best point differential. After Week 9, though, those numbers obviously took a hit and the win percentage is no longer the best mark ever.

It could get worse as the better teams of the East start playing more of the non-conference games. Below is a look at the amount of remaining matchups for every team in both conferences.

gamsasdasda

For the West, it’s somewhat balanced between how many of the East-West games have been played by the better or worse teams of their conference. Meanwhile, there’s been a problem in the East. Charlotte and Detroit are already halfway through their West schedule while Atlanta and Washington are only about a third of the way through theirs. The East has five niiiiice teams plus a feisty Milwaukee, but they’ve all played less games against the West than the bottom five in their respective conference.

Which brings us to Week 10. There are 22 non-conference matchups with Atlanta, Toronto, and Washington playing in 10 of them. The West will have a 16-6 home-road edge, though, as that’s one advantage the East had early on in the season, one that will vanish over this week and next.

Below is a look at the full schedule:

week10games

Enjoy the week. Curious how Week 10 ends up for the East. Things are starting to change in their favor, but I also need to dig a little deeper to confirm this, me thinks.


East vs. West Week 8: So close, and how this season stacks up with the last 44

Week 8 was another close call for the West, finishing .500 at 11-11 and continuing their possibly never-ending streak of finishing weeks at that mark or better. However, it was the first week the West recorded a negative point differential (only -0.18, but still). I think Atlanta’s victory over Houston was the most impressive Week 8 game for the East, but take a look at the scores for yourself and the non-conference summary below.

week8asa

Seems like the West is cooling off, and with about one-third of non-conference games already concluded, I looked at how this year’s stats measure up against those since 1971. I chose that year as the cutoff since conferences were called divisions before that, and it’s also the cutoff I used in posts like this one.

Stats I looked at were:

  • Point Differential: This is where 2014 separated itself from previous seasons.
  • West PPG/East PPG: This kind of adjusts for high and low scoring games. A 70-60 victory may or may not be more dominant than 130-120.
  • Win Percentage
  • Pythagorean Win Difference: The West’s real record is better than their Pyth one. How unusual is this?
  • Pythagorean Win% Difference

In the future, I’ll look at different stats instead of repeating myself over and over.

So the West currently holds a point differential of +4.06, just short of 2014’s mark but still more than good enough to make the top 10:

pd

Ew, vertical screenshots (there’s a lot of them in this post)

As noted in some other posts, 1972 just wasn’t fair. Milwaukee, with Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Oscar Robertson, were new to the Western Conference and it kind of sort of had a huge impact on non-conference statistics. For 2015, there are still about two-thirds of the non-conference schedule to play out, so there’s plenty of room for the West to either pad their point differential or for the East to continue putting a dent into it like they have over the last two weeks.

Also, long live the 1998 East!

Adjusting for high and low-scoring seasons, I also divided the West points by East points and vice versa to find the 10 highest percentages:

pdperc

2014 and 2015 are more close to 1972 according to PD%, and 2015 is oh so close to the best of the last 15 seasons. Kind of crazy that seven seasons since 2000 make the top 10.

When it comes to win percentage, though, 2015 takes the cake. At least so far:

winpe

2014 was so close to topping the list before falling just short. I guess we’ll see if the 2015 West continues fizzling or comes back strong over the next four months (yes, there are still about four months to go).

When looking at how the West’s real win percentage stacks up against their Pythagorean one, 2015 isn’t too unique. According to point differential, the West has performed 1.8 wins better than expected, which is just above average when applying that amount for every ~150 games. From 1971 to 2014 (not including 1999), the average win difference is 4.8.

The difference in win percentage isn’t anything special either, and I’m not sure but maybe it’s a better measurement right now? The West’s real win% is 1.13 percent better than their Pythagorean one, and the average is about 1.33.

Below is look at the top 10 win% and win differences:

winperiffwestdiffsfsf

I suppose it’s worth diving into whether or not the West has had a cake non-conference schedule so far, or not, and has been either taking advantage of an easy schedule or performing strong against a, well, stronger-than-average non-conference schedule (edit: Easy schedule meaning rest advantages, etc.). Maybe in Week 9’s roundup I’ll look into that, and some other things. Maybe.

Below are the non-conference games this week, a smaller slate thanks to the holidays:

week9games

Enjoy the week! Maybe this is the one where the East goes over .500 for the first time. In the meantime, I’ll be ordering some holiday ham off Amazon.

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