Tag Archives: Phoenix Suns

East vs. West Week 14: The East is rolling, plus some splits

I thought I wouldn’t write any non-conference roundups until the all-star break, but check out Week 14. THE EAST. There were supposed to be 27 games, but two were postponed on Monday:

(Note: There were a couple errors in a master schedule I have in Excel. Correcting them led to some minor changes in this week’s table compared to others. Minor, but noticeable. Most notably, Week 3 changed from 12-7 to 11-8. Simple data entry mistake that I didn’t notice until now.)

Anyway, the East since Week 7 are 81-89 and last week went 14-11 last week against the West, arguably their best stretch of non-conference play this season. Some of that is a little misleading, though. Oklahoma City is clearly better than New York even though the Knicks gave the Thunder a loss that could be huge in the long run, and Phoenix was likely going to win against Chicago and Washington when both were on tail-ends of back-to-backs. I’m not saying the Suns are worse than those two teams, but rest matters and they had an advantage each game.

And I’ve been meaning to run some numbers that paint a better picture than just looking at overall wins and losses, real or Pythagorean, the latter statistic a little goofy when applied the way I’ve been using it in these posts. I mean, I like to think after 450 games there is a large enough sample size to determine just how good or bad each conference was, and it’s not like anything I do will answer all questions, but I played around with some East-West splits anyway.

So below is what I looked at. I find Oklahoma City inconsistent health-wise to the point I left them off all splits save for conference-wide ones. That sounds crazy but I separated the West into the top eight and bottom seven seeds, but the Thunder were so weird to me that I left them off both. Like, when healthy they’re a playoff team, so it’s not totally fair to put them in the bottom seven where I wanted to see how the best and worst of the East performs against the mehhhh section of the West. This all might sound ridiculous and I apologize. If I run similar splits at the end of the season I’ll include the Thunder. Or just remove the top 8 teams and see if anybody notices.

Cleveland was a close call also, but I included them. This is all controversial, probably. The power I have on my own blog is out of control sometimes:

dasidhasda

Surprise, surprise! Good teams beat up on bad ones! Specifically the West though. I think that proves how much more deep the conference is, though most of us already knew and love to complain about that. Sure, the top five in the East can hold up versus the best in the West with an emphasis on the Hawks, but the sixth to eight spots (and possibly ten by the end of the year) in the West are obviously stronger than the same East seeds.

It is nice that the East has a juggernaut in Atlanta, though, and maybe Cleveland in time, making the conference at least tolerable. I might’ve already said this in previous posts, but the second round in the East is going to be pretty damn fun.

Anyway, hope the splits were interesting. Below is a look at this week’s non-conference games:

week15

Three Nuggets and Lakers games for the East to feed off of as well as a 13-9 home-road advantage, and the East has some decent firepower overall. The top five teams play nine of the 22 games INCLUDING A GOLDEN STATE-ATLANTA MATCHUP. That’s probably the game of the week, but I’m writing this before I’ve done the Watchability Rankings so who knows.

Anyway, enjoy the week.

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East vs. West Week 7: West with another winning week, but barely

A day late because, I don’t know really. Kind of ridiculous when this series is usually my only contribution to my own blog each week.

Week 7 wasn’t too bad for the East, finishing, um, 9-11, which makes for the seventh straight week the West finished with a winning record, but the East was decent! This was mostly thanks to a strong weekend, including a near-upset of Philadelphia over Memphis. Below is a look at the week-by-week summary and scores from last week:

week 7 scores

Lots of Clippers, Jazz, Suns, and Timberwolves in Week 8, playing in 13 of the 22 non-conference games. For the East, Indiana and Milwaukee are in four games each. Both played in one last night. FUN STUFF.

A quick screenshot of Week 8 with scores from Monday:

week8

So after this week there will be over 150 non-conference games. Will try to make next week a bit more interesting now that there’s a decent sample of games already played.

 

 

East vs West Week 21: Two records still alive for West

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.

East vs. West Week 20: The West’s chase for two records against the East

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.

After going 8-20 in non-conference play from February 24 to March 2, the East bounced back to go 11-10 last week. Toronto moved to over .500 versus the West, joining Brooklyn, Miami, and Indiana in that somewhat special club since none of them are even at 20 wins yet. The conference’s winning percentage from February to now is quite respectable, though, at 46.4 percent. It’s put a dent in the West’s potential for a record-high in winning percentage, set in 2004 at 63.3 percent.

More on that and another potential record in a bit. Below is the updated week-by-week breakdown along with non-conference games left in each week:

For the West to surpass their winning percentage from 2004, they’ll have to finish the rest of the 57 non-conference games 40-17. That’s possible since 34 of them will be hosted by their teams, but it’s still more than a 70 percent win rate to pull off.

So with a record-high winning percentage unlikely to be accomplished, there’s another record worth looking for. All current playoff contenders out West have a shot at winning 20 non-conference games, something never accomplished by either conference. The closest calls came in 2005, when six playoff teams from the West won 20-plus and the other two (Houston and Memphis) won 18, and in 2010 when seven West teams had 19-plus wins while the one other playoff squad (Portland) finished with 17.

Right now, the top eight West teams all have at least 18 wins and no more than nine losses. Below is a table showing their non-conference records, as well as ninth place Phoenix’s:

Oklahoma City and Portland should be fine, even if the latter has been on a brutal downswing with or without LaMarcus Aldridge. The Clippers have to beat one of Milwaukee or Detroit left on their schedule, and all Dallas has to do is beat Boston tonight and they, too, are at the 20-win mark. Boston’s coming off last night’s loss to New Orleans in which Anthony Davis pulled off a 40-20 line, by the way. No big f’in deal or anything.

Golden State should beat Milwaukee and Orlando this week to reach 20 wins as well. The problems come from Memphis and Phoenix, and one of them will be in the playoffs unless Kevin Love goes 1962 Wilt Chamberlain until season’s end.

Memphis finishes their non-conference games April 11 at home against Philadelphia, but they’ll have two games against Miami before that happens and one versus Indiana. Two of those three against the East’s best come in a back-to-back this weekend. Not exactly ideal, though Indiana will be on the tail end of a back-to-back too when they face the Grizz, and their first opponent is Chicago. All of those games on Friday and Saturday have the potential to swing votes for All-NBA and All-Defensive teams, as well as who is Defensive Player of the Year.

In Memphis’ second game against the Heat, Miami will be on the tail end of a back-to-back after playing a Thursday night game versus Brooklyn. All the Grizzlies have to do is win one of those three games and then Philadelphia, but that’s easier said than done.

For Phoenix, they’d have to go 5-1 over their last six non-conference games, which is something they’ll probably have to do anyway if they want to make the playoffs. Goran Dragic is finally reunited with Eric Bledsoe again, but they’ll be finishing a back-to-back at Brooklyn tonight. After that, they’ll finish their East games over the next two weeks starting with Orlando and Detroit but finish with Atlanta, Washington, and New York. Worth mentioning is their sweep of Mount Hibbert and Indiana, by the way.

Every game matters for Memphis and Phoenix, and non-conference matchups have been often regarded as ways for West contenders to build winning streaks. Both teams will have to topple some East squads looking to rise in their own conference’s playoff seeding, however. By next week there should be a clearer picture on whether or not the West’s playoff hopefuls can all accomplish that 20-win feat, as well as if the conference as a whole is within reach of their highest winning percentage ever versus the East.

Month by month lottery movement in GIFs and tables

About a month ago I wrote about the ongoing battle in the middle of the NBA lottery and how that’s often a spot where a team can increase their odds at a top-3 pick by as much as 33 percent, depending on where they are with a couple months left in the season.

For the heck of it, I took a look at this season’s lottery movement month by month, starting with December 16. I chose that odd starting point because of this season ending on April 16.

Below is a GIF of teams with their odds of landing a top-3 pick, and below that is a table showing changes in percentages by each month. Neither of them take account into draft picks owed from trades.

lotto on Make A Gif

I’m in the process of putting together something similar to that GIF, but way more interesting to look at and to be shown on the night the lottery balls come out. More than likely I’ll post it sooner, though, because boredom.

For now, it seems like New Orleans, a team that would be scary with another lottery pick, never gained enough steam to get within the top-5 protection their draft pick has. That’s even with missed time by Anthony Davis and Jrue Holiday. They only have one percent more of a chance at landing a top-3 pick as Goran Dragic and the Suns. As for Milwaukee, they’ve been consistently the worst team in the league standings-wise for the whole season. Congrats, Larry Drew and Larry Sanders.

With a month left in the season still, there’s bound to be more movement below the Bucks and especially in the fourth through seventh spots. Detroit’s also in position to keep their top-8 protected draft pick, but who would they even draft to play with Josh Smith, Greg Monroe, Andre Drummond, and Brandon Jennings? For all that talent, there are still quite a few holes to fill. Some of those will disappear with Drummond’s progression, though. Hopefully.

Lastly, below is a table showing percentages by month and records:

Any other thoughts are welcome.

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