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NBA Playoffs 2016: After the All-Star Break the West is best again

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A quick look at the standings

Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

The early season narrative we were fed was how the Eastern conference had now surpassed the struggling West. There were plenty of teams above .500 in the East and their Playoff picture looked more promising than a West where injuries to a number of playoff aspirants had decimated their teams. The East looked better because at the start of the season they were healthier, and more importantly, the REST of the East don't have to play the Warriors, Spurs, and Thunder as many times as the other 12 Western conference teams do. But Lo and Behold, now we are after the All-Star break and the numbers prove that, once again, the West is best.

This season the teams out West are a combined 414-390, with a winning percentage of 51.49%. By direct comparison, the Eastern conference teams are a combined 387-411, for a 48.50% winning percentage. The more interesting thing is to look at the Conference games. The West are 245-245 against the West, and the East is 242-242 against the East. Duh. Why is this interesting? It's interesting because if you know algebra you see that one conference is stronger than the other. In inter conference play the West is leading the East 169-145, for an inter-conference win percentage of 53.82%.

Total Games Conference Non-Conference
Team W L % GB W L % W L %
1 Cavaliers 38 14 73.08% -- 22 9 70.97% 16 5 76.19%
2 Raptors 35 17 67.31% 3.0 24 8 75.00% 11 9 55.00%
3 Celtics 32 23 58.18% 7.5 23 16 58.97% 9 7 56.25%
4 Hawks 31 24 56.36% 8.5 19 15 55.88% 12 9 57.14%
5 Heat 29 24 54.72% 9.5 16 15 51.61% 13 9 59.09%
6 Pacers 28 25 52.83% 10.5 18 12 60.00% 10 13 43.48%
7 Bulls 27 25 51.92% 11.0 16 15 51.61% 11 10 52.38%
8 Hornets 27 26 50.94% 11.5 17 13 56.67% 10 13 43.48%
9 Pistons 27 27 50.00% 12.0 16 15 51.61% 11 12 47.83%
10 Wizards 23 28 45.10% 14.5 17 16 51.52% 6 12 33.33%
11 Magic 23 29 44.23% 15.0 13 19 40.63% 10 10 50.00%
12 Knicks 23 32 41.82% 16.5 15 20 42.86% 8 12 40.00%
13 Bucks 22 32 40.74% 17.0 16 16 50.00% 6 16 27.27%
14 Nets 14 40 25.93% 25.0 8 24 25.00% 6 16 27.27%
15 76ers 8 45 15.09% 30.5 2 29 6.45% 6 16 27.27%
All East 387 411 48.50% 242 242 50.00% 145 169 46.18%

vs.

Total Games Conference Non-Conference
Team W L % GB W L % W L %
1 Warriors 48 4 92.31% -- 29 2 93.55% 19 2 90.48%
2 Spurs 45 8 84.91% 3.5 25 4 86.21% 20 4 83.33%
3 Thunder 40 14 74.07% 9.0 27 5 84.38% 13 9 59.09%
4 Clippers 35 18 66.04% 13.5 17 12 58.62% 18 6 75.00%
5 Grizzlies 31 22 58.49% 17.5 16 15 51.61% 15 7 68.18%
6 Mavericks 29 26 52.73% 20.5 19 15 55.88% 10 11 47.62%
7 Trail Blazers 27 27 50.00% 22.0 21 15 58.33% 6 12 33.33%
8 Jazz 26 26 50.00% 22.0 14 18 43.75% 12 8 60.00%
9 Rockets 27 28 49.09% 22.5 19 17 52.78% 8 11 42.11%
10 Kings 22 31 41.51% 26.5 10 20 33.33% 12 11 52.17%
11 Nuggets 22 32 40.74% 27.0 11 23 32.35% 11 9 55.00%
12 Pelicans 20 33 37.74% 28.5 14 22 38.89% 6 11 35.29%
13 Suns 17 37 31.48% 32.0 9 23 28.13% 8 14 36.36%
14 Timberwolves 14 40 25.93% 35.0 9 24 27.27% 5 16 23.81%
15 Lakers 11 44 20.00% 38.5 5 30 14.29% 6 14 30.00%
All West 414 390 51.49% 245 245 50.00% 169 145 53.82%

Now, yes, I get it. The East has the larger population and larger non-Lakers fan base. While the West has won 12 of the last 17 NBA Championships, including two straight and five of the last seven. So it's important to say that the East is better than the struggling West when they could have. They can't anymore, though.

2015 2016 East vs West Standings All Star Break

The top three teams in the league are in the West. And yes, three of the worst five teams are in the West too. But we know which conference is actually stronger. The top five teams in the West are stronger than their respective seed out East. And yes, the East has more teams .500 and above, but you don't see this fictitious East dominance until you look at the 10th to 15th ranked teams in the conference.

To quote former East All-Star Derrick Coleman, "Whoop-dee-damn-doo."

Thanks East. It was a nice ride to the headlines saying you were better than the West. Keep holding onto those early December forecasts when the West takes the title home again in June.