On Monday I predicted the East could win as many as 10 games against the West this week, mostly thanks to 10 of the 16 games heading into the all-star break taking place at their home courts (Indiana with two of them) and Miami on the road against foes from the Pacific Division. It started off as expected with the East going 6-2 heading into Wednesday, the last day of non-conference games before a much-needed league-wide breather. Eight non-conference games were left and the East hosted six of them.
And then the 10-win prediction fell apart. The Knicks melted down in yet another game, this time against Sacramento. Raymond Felton just might’ve sleepwalked through the whole game, which would’ve fit perfectly with how Philadelphia performed this week. Meanwhile, Washington continued playing .500 ball to a T, Indiana took a step back, Memphis held on against Orlando despite a scary fall from Marc Gasol, and so much more disappointments happened in the Eastern Conference on Wednesday.
Only Miami won, thanks to one of LeBron James’ most amazing shots yet. The East ended the 16th week 7-9, though slowly but surely they’re chipping at away at what two months ago was an unprecedented level of stink against the West. Below is the updated week-by-week breakdown:
Toronto, with the help of the rising DeMar DeRozan, became the third team to win 10 games against the West, so there’s that too. They’re 28-24 overall, good for the third-fricken-place. Only one other team outside of the Raptors, Pacers, and Heat has even nine or more wins against the West, which is the Nets. Meanwhile, Milwaukee is 1-19 in non-conference play. FUN.
Below is a table showing each team’s standings and how many non-conference games they have remaining for the rest of the season:
The East is fairly balanced, with only the Nets having more than 11 games left against the West. That’s going to change next week with a road trip, though it’s one of the more friendly ones possible. There’s also the possibility Kevin Garnett and Jermaine O’Neal are matched up against each other in some good ol’ late-90s early-2000s nostalgia.
Here’s the Week 17 non-conference schedule:
Brooklyn, New Orleans, and Dallas all play three non-conference games this week. Each has a decent chance at finishing 2-1. For the Mavs and Nets, that’s obviously important to their respective playoff races, and it’s amazing that Dirk Nowitzki can still carry a team to possibly 50 wins.
As for the rest of the games, I’m done predicting them after how last week turned out. The trade deadline looms anyway when guys like Pau Gasol, Omer Asik could further beef up contenders out West or allow a legitimate third seed out East to take place.
There’s also this thing called the All-Star Game this weekend (!!!). If Joe Johnson leads the East in a blowout over the West, it should count as 100 non-conference wins, though that would only put them a shade over .500 for the season.