East has more 50-win teams than West for the first time since 1996-97 season
For the longest time, the Western Conference has dominated the Eastern Conference — if one were to look at season records. Out in the West, it’s not enough for teams to have more wins than losses. They have to win at least 45 games to have a slot in the playoffs. Teams in the East, meanwhile, need only around 40 wins and they’re safely in. But this season, the East seems to have switched gears.
As noted by Reddit user burger__n__fries, this season, the East has more 50-win teams than the West for the first time since the 1996-97 season. Four teams have reached the 50-win plateau: The Toronto Raptors, Boston Celtics, Philadelphia 76ers, and Cleveland Cavaliers.
The West, meanwhile only have two so far: the Houston Rockets and the Golden State Warriors. The Portland Trailblazers need to win their last two games to reach 50 wins.
In the 1996-97 season, the East had six 50-win teams: The Chicago Bulls, Atlanta Hawks, Detroit Pistons, Charlotte Hornets, Miami Heat, and New York Knicks. The West only had four: Utah Jazz, Houston Rockets, Los Angeles Lakers, and Seattle Supersonics.
Due to the subpar performance of the East over the past several years, the analysts and critics have thought about altering the playoff scheme. Instead of the top eight teams of each conference to go at it come playoff time, the top 16 teams — regardless of the conference — will go toe-to-toe in the postseason.
Yet with the recent performance of the teams in the East, it seems that the old format will continue. Life is just full of cycles, anyway. This time, it’s the Eastern Conferences’ turn to dominate.