Tag Archives: Derrick Rose

East vs. West Week 4: Here we go again

In Week 2’s non-conference roundup, I noted that last year’s Western Conference began their dominance in weeks 3 through 7. They went 69-23 during that stretch.

Well…

With an 18-3 record and a +10.9 point differential versus the East, last week was arguably the West’s third most impressive since starting these posts. In weeks 3 and 7 last season, the West went 13-1 with a +13.14 point differential and 16-2 with a +10.00 point differential, respectively.

There could a case for last week to be ranked higher. The West went 18-for-21 despite 19 of the games featuring their team going off zero or one day of rest compared to 13 occurrences for the East, plus nine games where an East team had a rest advantage of one day or more. The East also had five more home games with a 13-8 edge.

The issue came, as you might’ve guessed, with talent. Using SRS as one measure, at the time of 15 of the 21 games, the West team had a higher mark, per Basketball-Reference. The West won 14 of those games, their only loss when Chicago defeated the Clippers without Derrick Rose and Pau Gasol. It was a hell of a victory for the Bulls and ended what was a struggle of a Monday for the East. The Lakers won in Atlanta the next day, the West went 5-1 on Wednesday, Sacramento and the Clippers took advantage of some missing players on Chicago and Miami’s squads in their TNT games, and the weekend was quite ugly. The West went 6-1 from Friday to Sunday and outscored opponents by a total of 100 points. Ew.

I’m not sure it gets that much better for the East. Check out what matchups take place in Week 5:

week5

The East has another five-game advantage at home, but as usual the West has some heavy hitters. Golden State and Dallas each play four non-conference games while the Clippers, New Orleans, Phoenix, Portland, and San Antonio play two each. For the East, most frequently on the menu-I-MEAN-SCHEDULE is Charlotte, New York, and Toronto. Chicago, Detroit, Indiana, Orlando, and Philadelphia combine for eight other games. For the most part, that’s not great.

Some other bad news for the East might be that Houston, without Dwight Howard, does not play another non-conference game for another month after Monday’s matchup versus New York. Minnesota, not doing too hot without Ricky Rubio, among others, is also on a bit of a non-conference break. They play their next non-conference game on December 3 (Week 6) before playing a bunch of East foes in Week 8. The East will avoid Memphis for a while, though, so at least they won’t match up against one juggernaut.

But a few more are looking to feast. Last season, much of the West took advantage of road trips out East and against those traveling on west coast trips. Let’s see if it also continues to be the case this season.

East vs. West Week 1: Strong start to the 2014-15 season for the West

One week of non-conference play is in the books, and the West finished 6-1 against the East. The only loss came on Saturday night when Minnesota lost a close one against a Derrick Rose and Taj Gibson-less Bulls squad. The West did score some key wins, though, like Memphis over Charlotte in a game that felt like 2004 (the dead ball era) all over again.

Below is a breakdown of the first week. It’s much like the ones I did last year but with some new additions relating to Pythagorean record. Like last year, this table will also be updated weekly:

Though a large number through seven games, point differential says the West ran slightly better than expected. That’s probably thanks to Minnesota holding on against the Pistons Thursday night after blowing a 19-point lead in the 3rd quarter.

Week 1 is the last of light non-conference weeks until the all-star break. There will be 17 non-conference games in Week 2 and it will pick up even more after that. The teams most often in the Week 2 matchups are Minnesota, Cleveland, and Miami with three games each. Below are some of the most important games:

Monday:

Oklahoma City @ Brooklyn
Houston @ Miami

Tuesday:

Oklahoma City @ Toronto
Cleveland @ Portland

Sunday:

Miami @ Dallas

It looks like the East has one extra home game in Week 2 than the West, and the five key games listed above feature three of them on East courts. The East will have actually have a nice home-court stretch through Week 5, playing seven more home games than the West by then.

So starting with Cleveland playing three non-conference games this week, this could either be a stretch where the East gains some ground or the beginning of an onslaught by the West.

2014: The season of comebacks

Maybe it’s because this will be my first basketball season without worrying about school, but the 2013 offseason was the slowest that I can remember, even topping (or in this case, bottoming?) the 2011 lockout.

The preseason, now what I call the weird season after watching Andray Blatche hoist six threes against the Celtics, didn’t help my NBA withdrawals either. There was this gem, however:

But just when it was tempting to resort to swallowing Halloween candy whole to cure my boredom, the NBA season arrived. There are the usual storylines coming into 2014: the off-season acquisitions we have to wait and see on whether they work out or not, the youthful players we hope evolve into franchise cornerstones, lottery-bound teams last season looking to get back into contention, and so much more.

If I had to pick a working title for this season right now though, it would be “The Season of Comebacks”, starring Derrick Rose, Kobe Bryant and Rajon Rondo, among others, who are returning after suffering devastating injuries a season or two ago. We’ll get to see one of those comebacks tonight in Rose, and what a bang he should start the season off with.

But the returns of Kobe and Rondo are still up in the air thanks to another unique element playing into this season: the 2014 NBA Draft. We may witness as much terrible basketball, thanks to tankapalooza, as much as we will witness great play with so many teams having a fighter’s chance at making this season’s Finals.

Whatever the dream matchup for the 2014 Finals may be, it’ll be quite a challenge to outperform what was a battle for the ages between the Spurs and Heat. It feels like that happened forever ago, yet somehow only four months have passed since its conclusion. I just remember wanting more after Game 7 but, after looking back at all that took place, feeling satisfied at the same time. It was like an ending to a great, season-long story.

How will we remember 2014? It’s time for its story to begin. 

Here’s a pie chart of my excitement for the NBA season

nba chart edIT2

Click to enlarge! Very helpful!

Honorable mentionsDirk Nowitzki rampage, the 1% chance Michael Jordan comes back, LeBron James‘ one-handed cross-court no-look passes, Brandon KnightKyrie Irving matchups, Damian Lillard, Marc Gasol and Tony Allen, every trade rumor surrounding Carlos Boozer, Metta World Peace quotes, when Stephen Curry catches fire, Craig Sager’s suits, flat tops, missed layups by Kendrick Perkins, Rasheed Wallace coaching, Al Jefferson chasing a scoring title, the 2013 rookie class, David Stern’s departure, Chris Boshand so much more.

Edit: Carlos Boozer’s And1s appeared twice. As of 7:45 p.m, one of them, with about the same excitement as LARRY SANDERS!, has been replaced by the Bucks’ Greek Freak, Giannis Antetokounmpo.  

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