HANG TIME SOUTHWEST — If the Eastern Conference hoped to gain any credibility against the mighty Western Conference on Saturday night, it flew out the window about a minute into the second quarter in San Antonio.
One of the many disappointing teams in the East, the Cleveland Cavaliers had no chance keeping up with the Spurs, falling behind 37-23 with 10:18 to go in the first half. By the time the merciful halftime buzzer sounded, San Antonio had pasted the Cavs with a 35-11 period for a 65-32 lead.
The West’s superiority over its Eastern brethren in the opening month of the season is astounding: 43-17. In the last eight days alone the West’s record stands at 19-1. A hearty congratulations goes out to the Washington Wizards for its 104-100 home win over the Minnesota Timberwolves last Tuesday. It’s the Wizards’ lone win against the West in four tries.
Before then, the last East victories came on Nov. 15 on what proved to be a banner night: Miami squeaked past Dallas, Brooklyn beat Phoenix on Joe Johnson’s buzzer-beater and Detroit motored past Sacramento. So nearly one-fifth of the East’s win total against the West came on one night.
The East’s only early West conquerors are their top two teams. The Pacers and Heat are both 2-0. Indiana beat New Orleans by five and thumped the slow-starting Grizzlies. Miami got by Dallas by six and the Clippers by five.
The Bobcats (0-3), Knicks (0-3) and Bucks (0-3) are all winless against the West and only the Raptors (2-2) and Magic (2-2) can boast .500 records. No East team can claim more than two wins against the West and 10 of the 15 can’t even claim that. Of course the East’s biggest — and most unexpected culprits — are New York’s expensive clunkers. The Knicks and Nets are both 3-9 overall and a combined 2-7 against the West.
More East-West perspective:
*The West has 11 teams with six or fewer losses; the East has 12 teams with six or more losses.
* The West has nine teams with seven or more wins; the East has four.
* The West has 12 teams that are .500 or better; The East has four, plus an entire division (the Atlantic) under .500
* The West’s top three teams — Spurs (5-0), Trail Blazers (6-0) and Thunder (3-0) — are a combined 14-0 against the East (The Warriors, Nuggets and Lakers are a combined 6-0)
* The West’s bottom seven teams are 14-11 against the East and that includes Utah’s 0-4 mark.
* The only West teams with a losing record against the East are the Clippers (1-2), Kings (1-2) and Jazz (0-4)
* The Mavericks are 5-1 against the East and 9-5 overall
* The Timberwolves are 5-2 against the East and 8-7 overall.
* The 76ers are 6-9 overall and 1-4 against the West
* The Pistons are 4-8 overall and 1-5 against the West