We knew it couldn’t last much longer but the Warriors’ 24-0 start to this season was truly remarkable.
Win number 24 took place in Boston last Friday night when Golden State needed two overtimes to get by the Celtics, 124-119, without injured starter Klay Thompson.
The proposition of which will be greater – Warriors wins or Philadelphia losses – remains even with the teams having mirrored results starting this week (24-1 vs. 1-24).
In next week’s column a different tact will be taken than is generally used as a look at all five games to be played on Christmas Day will be given. The middle game of that quintuple-header will feature a rematch of last season’s NBA Finals with the Warriors hosting Cleveland.
Could the balance of power finally be shifting from the Western to the Eastern Conference? Despite the league’s best team, Golden State, residing in the West only five other teams started this week with winning records with one other team at .500. For many years at least one winning team was left out of the Western Conference Playoffs.
In the East 10 of 15 teams started the week with winning records. It has not been uncommon over the past decade for at least one team with a losing record to have made the Eastern Playoffs.
Of course three quarters of the season still has to be played. Much of the success in the East comes from Philadelphia’s 1-24 start, which includes 0-15 against fellow conference foes. And let’s also note that Golden State’s 24-1 record includes 15-0 versus the West. But still, those records include no more than two games against any single foe, which suggests there indeed may be better play in the East while there is more parity in the West among the teams just below Golden State.
Thus far, Eastern Conference teams have won 2 more games than they’ve lost versus the West. Eastern teams are also plus 18 ATS in games vs teams from the West.
Here’s a look at three games this weekend.
Milwaukee at Golden State (Friday): Normally this game would not attract much interest but after the Bucks ended Golden State’s unbeaten season last Saturday this will be the Warriors’ first, of what might be very few, revenge games this season. This will be Golden State’s second game back home following that long 7 game road trip that ended in Milwaukee after hosting Indiana on Wednesday.
Golden State will be challenged to play with added intensity during the regular season and this figures to be one such spot. Milwaukee is in the lower half of the league defensively and will not be able to keep pace with the Warriors. Although it will be a big number, Golden State, unlike last week, will not be coming off of a double overtime game the night before. GOLDEN STATE.
LA Clippers at Houston (Saturday): The Clippers are still smarting from blowing their Playoff series to the Rockets last season yet in their first meeting this season the Rockets again came out on top, winning 109-105 as 5.5 point road underdogs. The spot does favor the Rockets who last played Thursday at Sacramento whereas the Clippers are off of a game in San Antonio on Friday. Those scheduling dynamics likely result in value on the Clippers – value that may be even greater if the Clippers lost.
Either way, the Clippers need to make a statement here and they are playing their best basketball of the season, starting the week having won 4 of 5 and 7 of 9. The Rockets have also won 7 of 9 which suggests they could be favored by from 4 to 6 points. LA CLIPPERS.
Atlanta at Orlando (Sunday): After winning 60 games last season Atlanta is on pace to win just 46. Orlando, seeking to improve from last season’s 25 wins, is on pace for 43. These Division rivals meet for the first time this season. Orlando is a solid 7-4 both SU and ATS at home this season. Atlanta started the season winning 4 straight road games but is just 2-6 since, both SU and ATS.
The Hawks have the better reputation due to recent success. Although Atlanta won 3 of 4 meetings last season, the Magic covered in 3 of the 4. While Atlanta is somewhat weaker than last season Orlando appears be much improved with a winning record (12-11) more than a quarter of the way into the season. ORLANDO.
Andy Iskoe, and his Logical Approach, provides his popular and unique handicapping statistics to GamingToday readers and online visitors. He has been a long time GT columnist, contributing weekly in-season columns on baseball, pro basketball and pro football. Email: [email protected]