The Minnesota Timberwolves have played significantly better against the Western Conference than the Eastern Conference this season.
In order for the Minnesota Timberwolves to stay near the top of the Western Conference, they need to reverse their trend of poor play against the Eastern Conference, as they start the New Year playing six of their next ten games against the East.
The Wolves have secured 20 of their 24 victories against the West which will help them when it comes down to the playoffs. Unfortunately, they have eight of their 14 losses against the East.
They have the second-worst record against the Eastern Conference (4-8) and only the Memphis Grizzlies have a worse record against the East (1-11).
The other top eight Western Conference teams all have better than a .500 record against their Eastern Conference rivals. The Golden State Warriors, Houston Rockets, and San Antonio Spurs have won about 80 percent of their games against the East.
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The Timberwolves are ranked fourth in the West and if they had won six of their eleven games against the Eastern Conference they’d have a 26-11 record and would be in third place in the Western Conference.
The good news is a bright light can be found in this numerical black hole. Of the top eight teams in the West, the Timberwolves have played the fewest games against the East. Minnesota also has more wins against the West than any of that same top eight.
After the first ten games of the New Year including recent victories over the Indiana Pacers and Los Angeles Lakers, the Twolves will be beyond the halfway point in the season.
They recently beat the Pacers and if they can produce wins against the Brooklyn Nets, New York Knicks, Orlando Magic and triumph over the Boston Celtics or Cleveland Cavaliers, they’ll begin to reverse their poor standing against the East.
The Twolves resoundingly defeated the Lakers Monday night, 114-96, and if they can take one more from Western Conference rivals New Orleans Pelicans, Oklahoma City Thunder or the Portland Trail Blazers they’ll have a 29-17 record 46 games into the season (Last season the Twolves were 17-29 at that point).
At the 46 game point in the 2016-17 season, Minnesota had played 17 games against the Eastern Conference and won seven of those games which from a percentage standpoint isn’t that different than their record so far this season.
They will need to reverse their losing trend against the East if they want to stay near the top of the West. They’ll have opportunities over the next couple of weeks to amend their Eastern Conference woes, and if they do, it will have a significant impact on their Western Conference standings.