It’s been a good season for the Eastern Conference. Through Week 21 (and as documented every week in the space below), the East is 201-181 (.526) against the West this season. That would be the East’s best mark against the West in the last 24 years and only the third time in that stretch that the East has had a winning record in interconference games.
And the East’s success still holds if you just look at games between the 13 teams (seven in the East, six in the West) that currently have winning records. Those seven East teams are 40-32 (.556) against those six West teams, with the Philadelphia 76ers (8-1) and Milwaukee Bucks (6-2) having the best records in those best-against-the-best interconference games.
There will be six more of those games coming this week, with the Bucks, Nets, Nuggets and Kings each involved in two of the six. The first of them is Monday in Sacramento (10 p.m. ET, League Pass) when the league’s No. 1 offense plays host to its second-ranked defense. The Bucks have the best record in the league, while the Kings have the best record since the All-Star break, and maybe they can knock Milwaukee out of the top spot in next week’s Power Rankings.
Plus-Minus Players of the Week
- Right Way: Rui Hachimura (LAL) was a plus-51 in three games last week.
- Wrong Way: Jeff Green (DEN) and Jordan Poole (GSW) were each a minus-47 last week.
Teams of the Week
- Make It Last Forever: Sacramento (3-0) — The Kings lit the beam against both the Knicks and Suns to solidify their standing as a top-3 seed in the West.
- Something Just Ain’t Right: Detroit (0-4) — The Pistons played four teams that were in the bottom 10 in last week’s Rankings, and they couldn’t come up with a win.
East vs. West
- The East is 201-181 (.526) against the West in interconference games after going 10-9 in Week 21.
Schedule strength through Week 21
- Toughest: 1. Detroit, 2. Washington, 3. Charlotte
- Easiest: 1. Denver, 2. Sacramento, 3. Philadelphia
- Schedule strength is based on cumulative opponent record, and adjusted for home vs. away and days of rest before a game.
Movement in the Rankings
- High jumps of the week: Oklahoma City (+3), Brooklyn (+2), Chicago (+2), LA Clippers (+2), Sacramento (+2)
- Free falls of the week: Minnesota (-4), New York (-3), Toronto (-3)
Week 22 Team to Watch
- Memphis — The Grizzlies picked up a couple of important wins last week to remain in a tie for second place in the West. But now, they’ve got to go back on the road, where they’ve lost 11 of their last 12. Their three-game trip begins in Dallas on Monday (7:30 p.m. ET, ESPN), and then continues through Miami and San Antonio. They’ll be back home on Saturday night to face a team (the Warriors) that has struggled on the road more than the Grizz have themselves.
Previous Power Rankings
- Last week: Knicks, Nuggets rise as Bucks stay at top
- Thursday’s notebook: How trade deadline additions are performing
- This time last year: Several key East-West matchups await — Gregg Popovich became the NBA’s all-time wins leader, Victor Oladipo made his season debut, and the Nets handed the Sixers their first loss with James Harden in the lineup. The Suns were the first team to clinch a playoff spot, and the Magic were the first team officially eliminated. Klay Thompson got a visit from Jackie Moon, the Grizzlies and Thunder were both wearing white uniforms for their game in Oklahoma City, and Jaylen Brown dunked all over Maxi Kleber.
- The archive: NBA.com Power Rankings
OffRtg: Points scored per 100 possessions (League Rank)
DefRtg: Points allowed per 100 possessions (League Rank)
NetRtg: Point differential per 100 possessions (League Rank)
Pace: Possessions per 48 minutes (League Rank)
The league has averaged 113.8 points scored per 100 possessions and 99.8 possessions (per team) per 48 minutes this season.
NBA.com’s Power Rankings, released every Monday during the season, are just one man’s opinion. If you have an issue with the rankings, or have a question or comment for John Schuhmann, send him an e-mail or contact him via Twitter.