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NBA / Feb 26, 2008 / 8:35 am

Worlds Apart

Here’s a barometer to gauge the difference in the atmosphere in the NBA and the ABA, er, I mean the West and the East.

After three losses, the Nuggets are sitting ninth, half-a-game behind Golden State for the last playoff spot in the West. After three losses, the Hornets are no longer perched atop their conference. Instead, they’ve dropped down to fifth and could conceivably end up going to play in Utah‘s basketball cathedral, where the Jazz are 24-3 this season.

The Hornets are taking a full step closer to the panic button as a result. “I don’t know if the guys realize that by the time the week’s over, we could be in seventh,” said Byron Scott.

On the other hand, the Wizards have lost ten out of their last thirteen games, but don’t have too many worries as the six seed in the East. Eddie Jordan nearly wet himself after DeShawn Stevenson went off for 33 points against New Orleans last night.

“He’s had some ailments but he just comes out every day,” Jordan said of Stevenson. “He’s a warrior, man, a true warrior. His confidence is growing — he’s making threes — he’s just a true pro. This is a man’s league and he is man. In the dictionary next to that word there is a picture of DeShawn Stevenson.”

Sure the Hawks are 22-32, but as the ninth team in the East, things are looking up. Even after they fell to the Jazz 100-94 on Saturday, no one in Atlanta’s locker room hung their head.

“I think anyone paying attention can see that we’re coming together,” said Josh Smith. “Mike‘s made us a much better team. With his ability to stretch the defense with his outside shot and then dive into that defense and create for everybody else … I think when we get back home things will really start coming together for us. You’ll see.”

The 89-74 loss to San Antonio last night wasn’t quite as “together” as J-Smoove hoped, but they were going up against the West. As Smith said, it’ll be different when they get back East.

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  • E$

    Wizards vs Rockets tonight, bring it Stevenson!

  • Prof. TX

    Every year people talk about how the East falls further behind, and Stern always defends it by saying it will change and that these things happen in cycles. What Stern hasn’t noticed (or is just in denial) is that it keeps getting steadily worse. Most of the Eastern teams just aren’t nearly as good, and even the good teams (Boston and Detroit) risk being considered overrated because their schedules are so much easier than Western teams.
    When is the NBA just going to use the top 16 teams for the playoffs, regardless of location? As Charles Barkley said, “It should be against the law for a losing team to be in the playoffs.” The only reason they keep the current format is for ratings, thinking that it’s better to get East and West fans involved and avoid something like the Mets-Yankees series that only one region really watches, but you can’t honestly tell me that Cleveland vs. San Antonio is really the solution to advertising and ratings concerns.

  • doc

    When the East win the chip this year will everybody let it die.

  • Prof. TX

    An East championship only means that the East had the best team, not that the conference is as good as the West. A number of Jordan’s championships were like that, only finding real competition in the finals vs. the West because the East was so weak.
    Of course, it might also just mean that the Western teams will be exhausted from so many seven-game series against each other on the way to the finals as opposed to a team like Detroit who will have a four or five game series in the first and second round and get plenty of rest between opponents.

  • Lady Luck

    Since 1988, there have been 9 champs from the west and 9 champs from the east. History has proven there are cycles to this.

    http://www.nba.com/history/finals/champions.html

    I do agree that the top 16 teams, regardless of conference should make the playoffs, but not as a knee jerk reaction to balance the power, but because it makes sense that teams with winning records should make it over teams with losing records.

  • Top Gun

    It’s true what stern said. Boston, , Detroit, Chicago have been dominating in the past. Now West teams have more quality teams. If you look at the all-star game, it was the East that won, when the West wanted it more badly.

    It all comes down to who wins the trophy. If your team is the 9th seed in your conference, that means 8 team were better than yours, quit bitchin.

  • doc

    If u win 50 and dont get in.Step your game up.Because in 10 years the shit might be totally oppisite.

  • 2 Easy

    Now my take on this is that the West isnt LIGHT years ahead of the east but they are the better conference. Now I find it a crying shame that Denver or GS may not make the playoffs this year when those teams play so well but a team like Washington (Without GO and currently without Caron) are gonna be the 6th seed easy. I just dont see the fairness, it seems like a waste of a season to me. Y not put GS in there cause watching them play anyone would be so much more interesting that watchin Boston or Detroit dismantle whoever sneaks into the last 2 seeds

  • http://GeeC2.com GEE… be clear

    Case in point. Mavs trade for Kidd. Meanwhile Devin still has an excellent chance to make the playoffs.

    It would have been crazy, but not unimaginable, for a player from G.S. or Denver to ask for a trade to the East and be in a better playoff position.

    It has to take the heart out of you though as the team or teams that don’t get in West wise, and then see teams that have been on extended losing streaks still make it in the East.

    That is truly cruel and unusual.

  • YOUNGFED

    Prof Tx: Are you NUTZ!!! Both Boston and Detroit are murdering your so called dominant west.

  • dagwaller

    The way the playoffs are, currently, only makes the unbalance WORSE. I’m a firm believer in the cyclical nature of this thing, but when a few teams under .500 make the playoffs in the East, that’s 2 GREAT teams getting lottery picks in the West. Imagine if the Nuggets miss the playoffs this year and draft a PF that can play!

  • Prof. TX

    Youngfed,
    Those two teams are playing well against the West, but two good teams does not make for a dominant conference. Jordan’s Bulls were a great team, but that doesn’t mean that the East was stronger overall, just that one team was better than any of the very good teams that came from a strong West.

    It doesn’t seem right for Denver or GS to win 50 and not make the post-season while NJ or Philadelphia get in with losing records.
    Shouldn’t we just see the best teams in the playoffs, regardless of their zip code?

  • http://www.kianoosh.org djKianoosh

    dagwaller, you’re on to something. if the nuggets or warriors get a top 3 pick somehow, then they’ll immediately improve into a playoff team, but then look at how portland is expected to improve, and seattle should be better in a year or two. so then you have this vicious cycle where the west could conceivably have 11 sensational teams next year and the east still has the stinkin sixers flirting with an 8th seed. WTF!!! stop the madness.

    Here’s how you implement the rule that no sub-.500 team can make the playoffs. Let’s say you have 5 teams in the east above .500. all you have to do is put seeds 9,10,11 in the East bracket at 6,7,8. the haters will say oh it’s tough for the teams to travel. what? they have 3 days in between games in the first round already anyway. what travel concerns? if anything, it should be punishment to the west teams for not finishing in the top 8. and you can make the schedule so that the East team isn’t affected as much going West for those games, so they’re not punished. and also make every round a 2-3-2 format. Stern will need to do that anyway when he plans on expanding the League to Europe. 10 years, wait for it.

    In fact, I can envision a Finals Series that could take place all in a neutral site! How about that?! You’d have the Lakers vs. London in an NBA Finals series all in Madison Square Garden. 1 day in between games. season ticket holders of each team get first dibs on 25% of the seats in the arena. 25% for each team, and the other 50% for corporate sponsors and celebs and general public. You’ll have GREAT ATMOSPHERE in the finals with fans of both teams in the arena screaming at each other.

    Telling you, this is ahead of our times. You’re not ready. But you will love it.

  • Chaos

    The West is the better conference with out a doubt but fortunately for the East the have to the two best teams, Detroit and Boston….and i put Detroit first because they have the better chemistry and been doing it for years now while Boston has been riding off of star power and fortunately been bring the team up. there are some things that have hurt east teams….Washington for one wasnt unstoppable but was beating good teams with Agent 0 out but then with Caron gone, it has gone down hill. Take Timmy and TP from SA and or Iverson and Camby away from Denver or CP3 and Chandler away from NO and what do u get? mediocre if not below average teams. When does the potential kick in for ATL and Charlotte? the are like the LAC when they had Brand, Maggette, Odom, Miles and Q-Rich and i think Miller in the early 2000s. All the potential in the world and can’t get to .500

  • ML

    Fantasy Boy How much do they pay you to say stupid shit? When the East win’s the Championship? What the fuck Shut the Fuck you sound Fucking Stupid.

  • ML

    up