Tag Archives: Chris Paul

Non-conference update: The West wins the most active week yet

Two months ago, Basketball-Reference provided history of non-conference games in a really cool table, one that showed the West winning this year’s matchups at a frequency not seen in nearly 55 years, back when the league had “divisions”. A few weeks passed before I started a weekly update tracking the rest of the non-conference games.

The 15th week of the season featured the most active stretch of the East’s teams playing the West’s, 33 played total with each conference winning 10 at home. The West won eight on the road, though, while the East took just five. Below is the updated week-by-week breakdown:

The 45.5 percent win rate the East had last week would be solid over an entire season. That’s if they ever cared about non-conference statistics. It’s fine if they don’t, especially when the games have nowhere as much impact as they do for the West.

Indiana and Miami are still the only East teams to have 10 wins in non-conference play, but in Week 15 the conference as a whole blew some winnable games. The Cavs heard the thud that is rock-bottom after falling to the Lakers while the Heat sparked a search for a replacement to the term “coasting” after losing to Utah. Some suggestions: sailing, floating, drifting, and freewheeling. Heatwheeling?

As for the West, below is an updated breakdown of how many games each team has left against the East. It impacts both the playoff race and the lottery with the former benefiting from more non-conference games while the latter hopes for less. The more games the Jazz and Lakers play against West teams jousting for playoff seeding, the higher likelihood they’ll accumulate more lottery balls.

With DeMarcus Cousins, Rudy Gay and Isiah Thomas, it’s hard to believe Sacramento finishes as the worst team in the West. Recent injuries to the first two players hasn’t helped, but the Lakers are all sorts of banged up too. Utah’s wedged in between them with some nice pieces themselves.

As for the playoff teams and contenders, most are in that 9 to 12-game range against the East with Memphis and Golden State having some extras, which is huge when they’re both just trying to make the postseason versus deciding who they’d like to host in the first round. Meanwhile, the Clippers are running out of near-gimmes against the East but it’s right when Chris Paul is returning and Blake Griffin is making a case as the best power forward in the league. As usual, looking at non-conference games is helpful but remaining back-to-backs and home/away games are just as important too.

There’s also this thing called the trade deadline that’s creeping into front offices. Will a team out West grab Arron Afflalo? What about Greg Monroe, Josh Smith, or whatever else Detroit could look to trade? Cleveland’s another East team that could swap some players such as Dion Waiters or Anderson Varejao.

For the heck of it, though, below is Week 16’s non-conference schedule. There’s only three days of games but about as many will be played as any other random week:

The East has 10 home games compared to the West’s six. That’s also the amount of wins I think each conference could pull off, respectively, though a couple East teams always fail to win down the stretch.

Maybe this is the week they turn in a dominant performance, though slowly working towards a respectable winning percentage against the West is just as fine. It’s like I’ve felt that way all season about most of the East’s teams.

For the other non-conference posts, check this out.

Non-conference update: The West wins another week, plus a look at their non-conference games left

It was another winning week for the West, going 15-8 against the lowly Eastern Conference where only Indiana and Miami have more than 10 wins in non-conference play. The West has won 12 of the season’s 14 weeks so far with 12 to go.

Here’s the updated week-by-week breakdown:

Last week, Milwaukee continued to struggle in non-conference play as they went 0-3 and are now 1-16 for the season. It also didn’t help for the East that Indiana and Miami, the only two teams to have a non-conference record over .500, both lost games against the West on their home courts. It’s a good thing the Pacers won’t match up with Goran Dragic and the Suns in the playoffs. Miami and Oklahoma City, on the other hand…

The Milwaukee of the West is looking to be the Lakers, who are getting beat up by the East lately when just about every other Western team uses non-conference games as a standings-padder. Only Sacramento comes close to having as bad of a non-conference record, who are 5-9 while the Lakers are 7-13. It’s unlikely Sacramento stays that bad when they can play six more games against the East.

Speaking of games left against the East, in my opinion it’s a decent argument to use when looking at which West teams will make the playoffs. Here’s a breakdown of that too:

I thought about including a table for the East, but Miami and Indiana are on a crash course to meet in the Conference Finals. The first round matchups for them should be snoozers.

Of course, non-conference games don’t say everything about the rest of the NBA schedule. Back-to-backs, home vs road games, and the strength of the remaining games are all key too. As you can see though, even without Mike Conley the Grizzlies should tread water just fine when they play five more non-conference games than Dallas. Meanwhile, the Chris Paul-less Clippers might regress after capitalizing on an East-heavy schedule the last few weeks.

Of course, teams with extra non-conference games still have to play and win them versus just giving them the W, but so far the West has had a historical upper hand this season.

A recent history of kicks to the face

In case you missed it, Chris Paul got a shin sandwich from Tony Allen last night:  

Searching through YouTube (unfortunately or fortunately, depending on how you view it) led to only a few more instances where this has happened. What I found though showed different variations of how a face becomes full of sneakers.

The Ninja Closeout 

Bruce Bowen kicking Wally Szczerbiak in the face is arguably the most popular of them all, which is pretty impressive since it happened in 2002. There was no YouTube or Twitter, but 24-hour coverage of sports existed. That’s all it took for Bowen’s reputation as a chippy defender to take off.  

The “Big Boot 

Tyson Chandler gives a big boot to Damion James in a 2011 pre-season game: 

With the running start, this had to be just as painful as Bowen’s or Allen’s, not to mention Chandler’s shoes are probably a few sizes larger than a perimeter defender’s.

Accidentally On Purpose Whoopsy Daisy

Tony Parker gives Shane Battier a little extra after drawing a blocking foul: 

Whether it was on purpose or not, Parker acting dazed after the kick brought me back to the days of my freshman dorm, where my roommate’s alarm went off every five minutes for an hour straight. This happened every morning before class at 8 a.m., that is until one day I couldn’t take it any more and flung a pen at him. I still remember the “thunk” it made when it ricocheted off his head, making it sound way more painful that I intended. Regardless, I proceeded to act like I was asleep. It was terrific. I never heard his alarm go off more than once ever again. Good times, good times.

Honorable mentions: Mike Miller getting a face full of Danny Greens shoe during a loose ball in the same Finals, and Kevin Love stepping on Luis Scola‘s face.)

The Helpless Prop

This happened way too often in college, where a player after a pickup basketball game would be so overconfident in his leaping ability that he’d try and dunk over someone. 99 percent of the time it led to the prop getting a face full of crotch, a knee to the midsection, or a foot dangling in the wrong place in mid-air.

Matt Bonner was a victim of the latter during a slam dunk contest, though at least he was prepared for it:  

Which variation will be created next?

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