The non-conference update follows games pitting the Western Conference’s teams versus the East’s. This season, the West has often held a winning percentage so large it hasn’t been seen in over 50 years.
One week after going under .500 in non-conference play, the Western Conference dominated the East in the 21st week of the season, finishing 21-6. Miami and Indiana finished a combined 1-2 but Brooklyn, 16-11 against the West, has become a third team out East to perform well in non-conference games. The first round of East matchups might be a dud, but the second round should be terrific.
Out West, the Lakers have become the worst team in non-conference play at 11-17, one game behind Utah. Overall, they have the same record with both having won their last game. Boston has leapfrogged them both for fourth place in the lottery.
Anyway, below is an updated week-by-week breakdown of non-conference wins and losses:
The West’s best results since week 5, 7 and 19, keeps two records in reach:
The West’s record-high in non-conference winning percentage, set at 63.3 percent in 2004
I mention this one in pretty much every post, but it was in doubt even after starting the first half of the season by winning two-thirds of their games against the East. The West will have to finish at least 19-11 over the last four weeks. Each conference has 15 of those games at home.
Every playoff team out West recording 20 non-conference wins
Mentioned in my last non-conference post. Every team in the top eight but Memphis has already hit that 20-win mark. The Grizzlies, 19-9 versus the East, have one game left against Miami but also face Philadelphia. The real risk comes from Phoenix, now 17-10 with the Hawks, Wizards, and Knicks on their schedule this week. The Suns are currently on a three-game winning streak, so maybe they’ll build on it and find their way back into the top eight in the West.
Aaaand as improved as the East has been over the past couple months, games against them are still looked at as a way to build winning streaks. I can’t help it, and maybe it will never change. Regardless, this is the last major week for non-conference play, and unless the two previously records for the West are broken over the next seven days I probably won’t update this until the end of the season.
Let’s see how this week plays out, though, especially for Phoenix. Their playoff hopes depend on how they perform against the East this week. Worth looking at out East would be the Knicks and Hawks, with the former going on a road trip to the West coast all while continuing a ridiculously soft schedule as of late while the latter plays Phoenix, Minnesota, and Portland this week.