Posted 04/01/2009 at 04:15 PM
Cleveland moved to 36-1 S/U at home last night and the Cavaliers have to be considered the favorites to win the NBA title as we approach the playoffs. The Eastern Conference has been considered the inferior group of teams for over a decade but a glance at the standings reveals a bit of change this season, as three of the top four records in the NBA will be on the Eastern bracket.
Although it is possible that at least one and possibly more teams with losing records will grab playoff spots in the East, the odds of the NBA champion again coming from the East are stronger than ever. Los Angeles has a great team that will surely be a serious threat but the Magic, Celtics, and Cavaliers are on equal footing. With Cleveland earning the top seed, Boston and Orlando would have to play each other before playing Cleveland which should be a huge advantage for the Cavaliers.
Another intriguing item you'll find upon looking at the standings is that six of the seven worst teams in the NBA by their overall record are in the Western Conference. The West has more solid to pretty good teams, but the East has more elite teams and only Washington can rate as a truly bad team. Phoenix will likely be left out of the playoffs in the West but would qualify as the fifth best team in the East so the argument of conference superiority is not completely clear-cut but overall things are much closer than they were a few years ago and keep in mind that the East has won three of the past five titles and appears to have its best chance for a repeat crown since the Bulls dynasty.