Mar 12, 2014, 8:22 AM EST
The Oklahoma City Thunder sent a message to the Houston Rockets. The Golden State Warriors overwhelmed the Dallas Mavericks. The Memphis Grizzlies made up ground on the Portland Trail Blazers. The San Antonio Spurs smacked down the Chicago Bulls. The Minnesota Timberwolves took care of business against the Milwaukee Bucks.
Tuesday night was eventful for Western Conference playoff contenders.
Though the slate wasn’t the most thrilling, it at least offered glimpses of what’s to come – a historically loaded Western Conference playoffs.
Here are the current standings of the 10 Western Conference teams with realistic playoff chances.
1. San Antonio Spurs (47-16)
2. Oklahoma City Thunder (47-17)
3. Los Angeles Clippers (45-20)
4. Houston Rockets (44-20)
5. Portland Trail Blazers (42-22)
6. Golden State Warriors (41-24)
7. Memphis Grizzlies (37-26)
8. Dallas Mavericks (38-27)
9. Phoenix Suns (36-27)
10. Minnesota Timberwolves (32-31)
If those top eight teams keep winning at the same rate, they’d each hold a better wining percentage (red) than their corresponding seed’s all-time average (gold) since the NBA adopted a 16-team playoff in 1984.
Heck, the ninth-place Suns are on pace to finish better than a typical No. 6 seed, and the 10th-place Timberwolves are on pace to best a typical eighth seed.
This is a really tough playoff field to crack.
The top eight in the West have combined to win 66.4 percent of their game. If that holds, it will be the second-best mark ever:
If you’re curious, here’s that 1997 Eastern Conference field:
1. Chicago Bulls (69-13)
2. Miami Heat (61-21)
3. New York Knicks (57-25)
4. Atlanta Hawks (56-26)
5. Detroit Pistons (54-28)
6. Charlotte Hornets (54-28)
7. Orlando Magic (45-37)
8. Washington Bullets (44-38)
Now, we already know the West playoff field (red) is on pace to be better than average (gold) at each seed. But how does it compare to the best teams to hold each seed under this system (black)?
Here are the best teams at each seed:
1. 1995-96 Chicago Bulls (72-10)
2. 2008-09 Boston Celtics (62-20)
3. 1997-98 Los Angeles Lakers (61-21)
4. 2005-06 Dallas Mavericks (60-22)
5. 2012-13 Memphis Grizzlies and 1997-98 San Antonio Spurs (56-26)
6. 2007-08 Phoenix Suns (55-27)
7. 2007-08 Dallas Mavericks (51-31)
8. 2009-10 Oklahoma City Thunder and 2007-08 Denver Nuggets (50-32)
OK, so no 2014 team is on pace to set a record for its seed. Even the ninth-place Suns fall short of the winning percentage of the 2007-08 Warriors, who missed the playoffs with a 48-34 record.
But in aggregate, this year’s group yields an incredible result:
The 2014 Western Conference teams are on pace to come closer to that hypothetical field of the best seeds of all time than an average field!
Feb 28, 2015, 11:00 PM EST
Warriors general manager supports idea
Feb 28, 2015, 9:30 PM EST
Howard has missed the last 14 games.
Feb 28, 2015, 8:04 PM EST
He will sit out Sunday vs. Boston.
Feb 28, 2015, 6:30 PM EST
Tom Thibodeau says Rose’s rehab plan is already mapped out.
Feb 28, 2015, 4:47 PM EST
Westbrook suffered the injury last night against the Blazers.
Feb 28, 2015, 4:00 PM EST
Rockets general manager says he recommended trading ‘everything’ for Harden in 2012
Feb 28, 2015, 2:30 PM EST
What else would he say?
Feb 28, 2015, 1:00 PM EST
He was beloved by former teammates.
Feb 28, 2015, 11:30 AM EST
He was evaluated by doctors after the game Friday.
Feb 28, 2015, 10:33 AM EST
He had been in the hospital for weeks following multiple heart attacks.
Feb 28, 2015, 9:30 AM EST
The Knicks got the double OT win in Detroit, this shot was key.
Feb 28, 2015, 8:00 AM EST
Westbrook is averaging a triple-double over his last five games.
Feb 28, 2015, 1:02 AM EST
To quote Bob Uecker, “juuuuust a bit outside.”
Feb 27, 2015, 11:00 PM EST
There is about as much chance of me getting a date with Emily Ratajkowski this weekend as there is of this actually happening.
Shane Battier on Carmelo Anthony: ‘Last two years I guarded him, he did exactly what the scouting report said he would’
Feb 27, 2015, 10:00 PM EST
Maybe, but Melo still dropped 50 on Battier’s Heat in 2013.
Feb 27, 2015, 9:00 PM EST
NBA teams are considering the question
Daryl Morey believes two bad shots are better than one good shot (always), but data wasn’t significant enough for Jeff Van Gundy to change
Feb 27, 2015, 7:59 PM EST
An interesting anecdote from Morey (speaking at the MIT Sloan Sports Analytics Conference) about how the data showed an advantage, but not one big enough for his coach to change.
Feb 27, 2015, 6:59 PM EST
Instead of 30-year plan, assistant Celtics general manager unveils five-year and 10-year plans
Feb 27, 2015, 6:07 PM EST
Kevin Love, it’s your show.
Feb 27, 2015, 5:30 PM EST
There are financial obstacles in the way of dropping 22 games from the schedule, but Battier makes a somewhat compelling case.
- Russell Westbrook undergoes procedure to address cheek fracture, will be re-evaluated next week 2
- Russell Westbrook takes knee to face, it leaves dent (VIDEO) 14
- Former All-Star, popular Knick Anthony Mason dies at age 48 14
- Russell Westbrook posts third straight triple-double, Thunder lose anyway 6
- Shane Battier: ‘I think a 60-game season would be perfect’ 16
- Kyrie Irving has strained left shoulder, out Friday vs. Pacers 0
- Derrick Rose expected to return in 4-6 weeks. In time for playoffs. 20
- Five Things We Learned in NBA Thursday: The Cavaliers we expected have arrived 17