x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

NBA’s Eastern Conference a big disappointment outside of Heat and Pacers

Two of 15 Eastern teams have winning records, only three in West are below .500

LeBron James and the Miami Heat possess one of just two winning records in the NBA's Eastern Conference, the Indiana Pacers having the other. Lynne Sladky / AP Photo
LeBron James and the Miami Heat possess one of just two winning records in the NBA's Eastern Conference, the Indiana Pacers having the other. Lynne Sladky / AP Photo

Want to know where the East meets the West in the NBA? In the losers’ column.

Something strange is underway in the NBA this season. Teams from the Eastern Conference are having a losing contest. They cannot all be rushing to get a lottery draft pick, but it seems that way.

Of the East’s 15 teams, only the Indiana Pacers and Miami Heat have winning records. That should not be mathematically impossible, but the West has only three teams with losing records.

It is a crazy imbalance that cannot possibly last, but then, who imagined it could ever get to this point? The New York Knicks (3-13) and Brooklyn Nets (5-12) have been major disappointments. The Chicago Bulls (7-8) are stumbling after the loss of Derrick Rose, and the Milwaukee Bucks (3-13), Cleveland Cavaliers (5-12), Philadelphia 76ers (6-12) and Boston Celtics (7-12) are pretty much as bad as most expected.

If the play-offs were to start today, five of the teams from the East would have losing records.

All the while, the Western Conference teams are rolling. In addition to elite teams such as the San Antonio Spurs, Oklahoma City Thunder and Los Angeles Clippers all playing at their expected level, the Portland Trail Blazers, Houston Rockers and Denver Nuggets look like teams on the rise. The Los Angeles Lakers are 9-9 while awaiting the return of Kobe Bryant.

That does not mean the champions will come from the West. The Heat and Pacers are as good as anyone; they just play in a conference of mediocrity, and worse.

sports@thenational.ae