The lockout shorten season has added a new element to the playoff race. Teams are playing an unbalance schedule. Each team played as many games v. Eastern and Western Conference teams but not the same amount. Some teams could have had Miami twice but the Nets once, whereas someone else could have the Nets twice and the Heat once. The same is true in the Western Conference where teams didn’t play everyone 4 times as you would in a regular season.
In the East there are 2 elite teams (Chicago and Miami) and 6 terrible teams (Toronto, Nets, Wizards, Bobcats, Cleveland and Detroit).
Let’s look how the Mavericks, Rockets, Nuggets, Suns and Jazz were matched up in the East this year. One game can make a huge difference
TEAM GAMES V. EAST ELITE GAMES V. TERRIBLE
Utah 2 7
Houston 2 9
Dallas 3 6
Denver 2 6
Phoenix 2 7
Houston has the big edge in scheduling. If they make the playoffs they can thank the 9 games against the Eastern Conference terrible teams. The Rockets are 7-2 in those 9 games. The Jazz are 6-1 in their 7 games v. the Eastern Conference worse teams. Phoenix went 4-3 in those 7 games.
Dallas as the world champion got the worst end of the deal. Playing 3 games against the best in the East and only 6 against the worst teams.
Remember this when it all ends tied or a single game apart.