Berry Tramel


Oklahoma City Thunder: Life is rugged in the West

by Berry Tramel Published: November 26, 2013

For all of Oklahoma City’s NBA history, the Western Conference has ruled. More good teams. Deeper talent.

But never more than this season.

At least so far, the West’s domination is stunning.

Only four of the West’s 15 teams have a losing record. Only three of the East’s 15 teams have a winning record.

This is a ridiculous distribution of quality teams. The No. 8 team in the West is Denver, with a 7-6 record. That record would put the Nuggets third in the East. The No. 13 team in the West is New Orleans, at 6-8. That record would put the Pelicans tied for sixth in the East.

West teams are 46-20 against the East so far. The only West teams with a losing record against the East are Sacramento, 1-2, and Utah, 1-4. The only East teams with a winning record against the West are Indiana and Miami, both 3-0.

Interconference play provides a lot of clues about the standings.

Portland, for instance, is 7-0 against the East, which helps explain the TrailBlazers’ 13-2 start. Dallas is 5-1 against the East, the primary reason the Mavericks are off to a 9-6 start.

Meanwhile, Golden State (2-0 against the East), Denver (2-0), the Thunder (3-0) and the Lakers (2-1) have had minimal cracks at the weaker conference, which should eventually jettison them up the standings.

But Minnesota is just 5-3 against the East, despite just one of the eight games coming against either Miami or Indiana. The Timberwolves have played Orlando, Cleveland twice, Washington, Boston, New York and Brooklyn.

The Thunder doesn’t play an East team again until Dec. 8, against Indiana. OKC plays at Atlanta two nights later. The Hawks are the third East team with a winning record, albeit barely, 8-7.


by Berry Tramel
Berry Tramel, a lifelong Oklahoman, sports fan and newspaper reader, joined The Oklahoman in 1991 and has served as beat writer, assistant sports editor, sports editor and columnist. Tramel grew up reading four daily newspapers — The...
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