Amare Stoudemire went from the Suns to the Knicks. Carlos Boozer went from the Jazz to the Bulls. With everything that went down in Miami and other teams in the conference entering an arms race to keep up, it felt as if the NBA’s balance of power had shifted from the West to the East.
In fact, the West’s dominance in inter-conference matchups (113-91 record, .553 winning percentage) has in fact grown from last season (246-204, .547), keeping with the history of Western superiority that dates back to the 1999-00 season.
The elite of the East — Boston, Orlando and Miami (with Chicago knocking on the door) — may be deeper than the elite of the West, but the West remains deeper in good teams. Remember it took 50 wins just to make the playoffs in the West last season and while a few players have moved on, the depth of the conference is still superior.
Or to put it simply, the East’s seven seed right now is Indiana (14-20), the West’s is Denver (20-16). The eighth seeds are Philadelphia and Portland, and head to head Philly is 4.5 games back in that race.
Kobe Bryant with spin move around LeBron James (VIDEO)
Just another magical day in the Valley of the Sun, where clearly Jeff Hornacek was the problem….
During an early timeout in the Suns’ game at Golden State, Markieff Morris tried to explain something to Archie Goodwin, who is seated. This conversation gets heated quickly, and teammates eventually have to step in and separate the two teammates.
The Suns have shopped Morris around as the trade deadline approaches, this isn’t going to help his value.
After the game, Morris said the two are close (which is true) and this was just like two brothers having a fight — they will get over it quick.
Kawhi Leonard drains game winner to beat Orlando (VIDEO)
This is how much Gregg Popovich trusts Kawhi Leonard on offense now: Tie game with 13.3 seconds remaining, and the play design is a 1-4 flat isolation for Leonard. It’s the kind of play teams will call for LeBron James or Kevin Durant. Popovich just called it for Leonard.
And he was rewarded with a game-winning bucket.
Leonard finished with 29 points, LaMarcus Aldridge had 21, and the Spurs head into the All-Star break with a 45-8 record, on pace to win 70 games this season. And that still would only get them a two seed.
Hornets’ Michael Kidd-Gilchrist suffers shoulder dislocation, leaves game
Michael Kidd-Gilchrist had been back just six games after suffering a torn labrum in the preseason that required surgery. The Hornets had won four of those six, were playing improved defense, and looked like a potential playoff team in the East.
INJURY UPDATE: @hornets Michael Kidd-Gilchrist has suffered a dislocated right shoulder. #CHAatIND