West's dominance leaves NBA dramatically out of balance

  • Article by: JERRY ZGODA , Star Tribune
  • Updated: December 10, 2013 - 7:26 AM

The NBA is dramatically out of balance this season, the Western Conference dominating.

 

Veteran NBA forward Corey Brewer has played his entire seven-year career for Western Conference teams, winning as few as 15 games in his third pro season with the Timberwolves and as many as 57 games with Denver last season.

And still he and the Nuggets got knocked out in the playoffs’ first round last spring.

“It’s tough in the West,” he said “The last few years, it has been like that. If you’re over in the Eastern Conference, you can make the playoffs if you’re below .500. But the Western Conference, you have to win like 50 games to make it.”

Then there is this season, during which the difference between the two conferences has reached truly lopsided proportions.

Ten teams in the West are at .500 or better while only three in the East have done the same so far.

The 10-12 Boston Celtics lead the East’s Atlantic Division, by a game and a half over a Toronto team that on Monday traded its best player — Rudy Gay — to Sacramento of the Western Conference in a salary-cap-clearing move that also probably makes the Raptors competitive in an Eastern arms race for the 2014 loaded draft’s lottery contest and the chance to draft Kansas forward Andrew Wiggins.

Western teams are 67-31 against Eastern teams going into Monday’s games.

The Wolves are 1-5 in their past six games against opponents — four from the West and the top two from the East — who combined have won 72 percent of their games. In their next two games, they play Eastern Conference foes Detroit on Tuesday and Philadelphia on Wednesday. The Pistons are 10-11, the 76ers 7-14.

“I’ve not seen this much disparity in a long time,” Wolves coach Rick Adelman. “But it’s still early, too.”

An Eastern Conference team — the 18-3 Indiana Pacers — owns the league’s best record. Two-time defending NBA champion Miami, with its 16-5 record, is in the East as well.

But so, too, are the Brooklyn Nets and New York Knicks, two teams once considered playoff teams if not longshot NBA title contenders. Together, they have started 11-28. The Knicks are leading the Nets in a chase for the Atlantic Division’s bottom, by a half-game.

“The teams in the East, the way they’re built, when you look at ’em on paper, they have very good teams,” said Wolves newcomer Luc Mbah a Moute, who played his first five NBA seasons with Milwaukee in the Eastern Conference. “But that’s another thing about this league. You never know how things will go. It’s still early, most teams have played 20 games. That leaves 62 yet to go. A lot of things can happen.”

The Knicks are playing without injured defensive-minded center Tyson Chandler. The aging Nets have been hit hard by injuries themselves: All-Star point guard Deron Williams, star center Brook Lopez, former Sixth Man of the Year Jason Terry and former Wolves forward Andrei Kirilenko all have missed seven or more games.

“Some teams are one healthy guy away from turning it around,” Mbah a Moute said. “It’s too early to go deep into all that stuff.”

Still, the Nets and the Knicks are just one notable winning streak away from not just a playoff spot but from getting home-court advantage as well.

“I’d think they’d right themselves,” Adelman said, referring to the Knicks and Nets. “But you’ve got to play consistently. It’s just the way the league is. If you don’t play consistently, you’re going to go through really rough periods.”

If the season had ended Monday, those 10-12 Celtics would own home-court advantage in the playoffs, the 8-10 Bulls would earn the East’s final playoff spot and the 9-11 Wolves would be a playoff team if they played in the East.

  • related content

  • Love returns to Wolves practice: Brewer fined for flop

    Monday December 9, 2013

    Kevin Love was back at Timberwolves practice Monday after missing Saturday's game following his grandmother's death.

  • Gameday preview: Wolves at Detroit

    Monday December 9, 2013

    wolves gameday6:30 p.m. at Detroit • FSN, 830-AMPreview: Kevin Love was back at practice Monday after he missed Friday’s practice...

  • By the numbers: NBA West vs. East

    Monday December 9, 2013

    west vs. east ...• Ten Western Conference teams hada record of at least .500.• Three Eastern Conference teams hadrecords of...

  • New York Knicks coach Mike Woodson, left, leads a team that was considered a playoff contender and instead is languishing a half-game from the bottom of the Atlantic Division standings.

  • Minnesota’s Kevin Love

  • wolves at Detroit

    6:30 tonight FSN (830-AM)

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

Minnesota 16 FINAL
Buffalo 17
Atlanta 7 FINAL
Baltimore 29
Tennessee 17 FINAL
Washington 19
Seattle 26 FINAL
St. Louis 28
Cleveland 6 FINAL
Jacksonville 24
Cincinnati 0 FINAL
Indianapolis 27
Miami 27 FINAL
Chicago 14
New Orleans 23 FINAL
Detroit 24
Carolina 17 FINAL
Green Bay 38
Kansas City 23 FINAL
San Diego 20
Arizona 24 FINAL
Oakland 13
NY Giants 21 FINAL
Dallas 31
San Francisco 17 FINAL
Denver 42
Houston 10/20/14 7:30 PM
Pittsburgh
San Diego 10/23/14 7:25 PM
Denver
Detroit 10/26/14 8:30 AM
Atlanta
Boston 95 FINAL
Brooklyn 90
Minnesota 112 FINAL
Oklahoma City 94
Golden State 83 FINAL
Houston 90
Charlotte 96 FINAL
Chicago 101
Utah 91 FINAL
LA Lakers 98
Minnesota 1 FINAL
Los Angeles 2
San Jose 0 FINAL
NY Rangers 4
Calgary 4 FINAL
Winnipeg 1
St. Louis 0 FINAL
Anaheim 3
TX-San Antonio 20 FINAL
Louisiana Tech 27
Syracuse 30 FINAL
Wake Forest 7
Purdue 38 FINAL
Minnesota 39
Western Ky 38 FINAL
Fla Atlantic 45
(12) Baylor 27 FINAL
(22) West Virginia 41
(11) Kansas State 31 FINAL
(17) Oklahoma 30
Iowa 31 FINAL
Maryland 38
So Florida 38 FINAL
Tulsa 30
Tulane 13 FINAL
UCF 20
Virginia 13 FINAL
Duke 20
Akron 20 FINAL
Ohio U 23
Western Mich 26 FINAL
Bowling Green 14
Eastern Mich 14 FINAL
Massachusetts 36
Appalachian St 53 FINAL
Troy 14
(25) UCLA 36 FINAL
California 34
Texas A&M 0 FINAL
(4) Alabama 59
Army 17 FINAL
Kent State 39
Kansas 21 FINAL
Texas Tech 34
UAB 22 FINAL
Middle Tennessee 34
Rutgers 17 FINAL
(13) Ohio State 56
(8) Michigan State 56 FINAL
Indiana 17
New Mexico 31 FINAL
Air Force 35
NC State 18 FINAL
Louisville 30
(21) Clemson 17 FINAL
Boston College 13
Ball State 32 FINAL
Central Mich 29
Cincinnati 41 FINAL
SMU 3
(9) Georgia 45 FINAL
Arkansas 32
Oklahoma State 9 FINAL
(10) TCU 42
San Jose St 27 FINAL
Wyoming 20
Miami-Ohio 41 FINAL
Northern Ill 51
New Mexico St 17 FINAL
Idaho 29
Colorado 28 FINAL
(20) USC 56
(23) Marshall 45 FINAL
FIU 13
Southern Miss 30 FINAL
North Texas 20
Georgia Tech 43 FINAL
North Carolina 48
Tennessee 3 FINAL
(3) Ole Miss 34
Utah State 13 FINAL
Colorado State 16
Missouri 42 FINAL
Florida 13
Kentucky 3 FINAL
(24) LSU 41
(16) Nebraska 38 FINAL
Northwestern 17
Georgia State 27 FINAL
South Alabama 30
Washington 20 FINAL
(6) Oregon 45
Iowa State 45 FINAL
Texas 48
(7) Notre Dame 27 FINAL
(2) Florida State 31
Nevada 42 FINAL
BYU 35
Stanford 10 FINAL
(14) Arizona State 26
Hawaii 10 FINAL
San Diego St 20
Arkansas State 10/21/14 7:00 PM
Louisiana
Connecticut 10/23/14 6:00 PM
(18) East Carolina
Miami-Florida 10/23/14 7:00 PM
Virginia Tech
So Florida 10/24/14 6:00 PM
Cincinnati
Troy 10/24/14 6:30 PM
South Alabama
BYU 10/24/14 8:00 PM
Boise State
(6) Oregon 10/24/14 9:00 PM
California
North Texas 10/25/14 11:00 AM
Rice
UAB 10/25/14 11:00 AM
Arkansas
Rutgers 10/25/14 11:00 AM
(16) Nebraska
Maryland 10/25/14 11:00 AM
Wisconsin
Texas 10/25/14 11:00 AM
(11) Kansas State
Minnesota 10/25/14 11:00 AM
Illinois
Memphis 10/25/14 11:00 AM
SMU
North Carolina 10/25/14 11:30 AM
Virginia
San Jose St 10/25/14 12:00 PM
Navy
Northern Ill 10/25/14 12:00 PM
Eastern Mich
(25) UCLA 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Colorado
Akron 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Ball State
Massachusetts 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Toledo
Ohio U 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Western Mich
Ga Southern 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Georgia State
Kent State 10/25/14 1:30 PM
Miami-Ohio
Oregon State 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Stanford
Fla Atlantic 10/25/14 2:30 PM
(23) Marshall
Louisiana Tech 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Southern Miss
(1) Miss State 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Kentucky
Georgia Tech 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Pittsburgh
(22) West Virginia 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Oklahoma State
Texas Tech 10/25/14 2:30 PM
(10) TCU
Michigan 10/25/14 2:30 PM
(8) Michigan State
Boston College 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Wake Forest
Central Mich 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Buffalo
Vanderbilt 10/25/14 3:00 PM
Missouri
Old Dominion 10/25/14 3:00 PM
Western Ky
UNLV 10/25/14 3:00 PM
Utah State
Temple 10/25/14 4:00 PM
UCF
(15) Arizona 10/25/14 5:00 PM
Washington St
Texas-El Paso 10/25/14 6:00 PM
TX-San Antonio
Wyoming 10/25/14 6:00 PM
Colorado State
Syracuse 10/25/14 6:00 PM
(21) Clemson
Texas State 10/25/14 6:00 PM
ULM
(3) Ole Miss 10/25/14 6:15 PM
(24) LSU
(4) Alabama 10/25/14 6:30 PM
Tennessee
So Carolina 10/25/14 6:30 PM
(5) Auburn
(13) Ohio State 10/25/14 7:00 PM
Penn State
(20) USC 10/25/14 9:00 PM
(19) Utah
(14) Arizona State 10/25/14 9:45 PM
Washington
Nevada 10/25/14 10:59 PM
Hawaii
Columbus 3 FINAL
Red Bull New York 1
Seattle 2 FINAL
Los Angeles 2
Ottawa 6 FINAL
Hamilton 16
Montreal 20 FINAL
Toronto 12
Calgary 33 FINAL
Winnipeg 23
Edmonton 24 FINAL
Saskatchewan 19
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: Which local team are you currently most excited about?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close