Aside from the 2004-05 Cleveland Cavaliers (42-40), each and everyone of the Eastern Conference teams that finished the regular season with a positive record this century made the playoffs. Meanwhile in the Western Conference, winning teams often ended up on the outside looking in, like the 2013-14 Suns and the 2008-09 Warriors, both with a 58.5 percent winning percentage.
It’s going to be very different this year with either the Jazz or Rockets advancing to the West playoffs without a positive record and Chicago (and perhaps Washington) going on vacation without a negative one in the East. If they beat the Sixers in their regular season finale, the Bulls would actually finish with a winning record (42-40).
One thing is for certain: The No. 8 team in the Eastern Conference will have a better record than its Western counterpart for the first time since 1998-99. The Eastern Conference is not the Leastern Conference anymore.