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NBA-Free agents and trades-East vs West Conferences comparation

Paul Millsap has left the Atlanta Hawks for the Denver Nuggets. Paul George was traded from the Indiana Pacers to the Oklahoma City Thunder, bringing back only a modest return. Ditto for Jimmy Butler, whom the Chicago Bulls sent to the Minnesota Timberwolves.

Sure, moves like Gordon Hayward’s journey to the Boston Celtics help cancel out some of the Western Conference’s influx of talent. But the disparity between the East and West is only getting worse.

Way worse, in fact.

The West was already the vastly superior conference, producing each of the league’s top three records in 2016-17. But it’s only getting stronger at the expense of its counterpart, and we’re turning to NBA Math’s total points added (TPA) metric to underscore the expanding crevasse.

Leaving current free agents in the free-agency pool (Andre Roberson’s deal with the Oklahoma City Thunder was the last to go into the calculation), we looked at every player’s TPA score from 2016-17, broken down position by position.

Could the summed efforts of the East even score a victory at one of the five lineup slots?

Do note that TPA is only one metric. There are some outliers (cough, Lucas Nogueira, cough), but the overall estimate still produces a result that’s easier to understand than any one-number mark. Don’t take the positional rankings as gospel, because the numbers are wholly devoid of context.

But together, the scores are meaningful.

East’s Top Scores: LeBron James (470.37), Giannis Antetokounmpo (425.68), Kyle Lowry (292.19), Isaiah Thomas (274.58), John Wall (241.45)

West’s Top Scores: Russell Westbrook (890.62), James Harden (626.23), Stephen Curry (405.88), Jimmy Butler (384.82), Kawhi Leonard (383.56)

Let’s pare this down to a single description that really helps put into perspective how dominant the Western Conference has become—as if the yawning chasm in summed TPA doesn’t already do the job.

With 191 players from 2016-17 contributing to that minus-1045.08 TPA, the average contributor in the East posted minus-5.47 TPA last year. The closest comparisons come from Johnny O’Bryant (minus-5.35 TPA) and Justin Harper (minus-5.66).

On the flip side, 187 players racked up the 3406.47 TPA for the league’s stronger side—an average of 18.22 per man. This time, the closest comparisons stem from the work of Kelly Olynyk (18.61) and Marreese Speights (18.02).

If the discrepancy between Olynyk/Speights and O’Bryant/Harper isn’t large enough, just remember that’s only for one average player. Now, multiply that by 186 or 191, and you get a better picture of the magnitude of the ever-growing gulf.

MLB-Regular season-Weekend essentials

Hottest team: Mets (4-0 past four games, 7-1 past eight overall)

The Mets have rattled off four consecutive victories, outscoring the opposition 23-10 during the impressive span. The four-game run also has the Mets within 8 1/2 games of the National League East Division, which is the same deficit they find themselves out of a Wild Card spot in the NL. So the Mets need to keep winning, and that’s what they’ll be looking to do against the Phillies on Sunday. New York has posted a 4-1 record over the past five games against a right-handed starter, 5-0 in their past five against a starter with a WHIP over 1.30 and 5-0 in their past five against teams with a winning percentage under .400. The Phillies counter with Nick Pivetta, and that usually doesn’t end well. The Phils are 2-7 in their past nine starts by Pivetta while going just 15-44 over their past 59 games overall.

Coldest team: Blue Jays (2-7 past nine games)

The Blue Jays were showing some signs of life near the end of May and into June, working their way back into the postseason picture. However, a rough road trip in Kansas City and some uneven results at home ever since have dropped them back into the basement in the American League East Division. In fact, after a Canada Day loss against the Red Sox on Saturday, Toronto now finds themselves one game under .500 at home while sitting with a minus-31 run differential overall. The Jays are just 1-5 in Joe Biagini’s past six starts overall, including 0-4 in his past four at home. The Jays are also 2-10 over their past 12 home games vs. LHP.

Hottest pitcher: Max Scherzer, Nationals (9-5, 2.06 ERA)

Scherzer puts the league’s best ERA on the line when the Nationals and Cardinals square off under the lights in the Lou on Sunday night. Scherzer also leads the National League with 151 strikeouts, walking just 24 batters over 113 2/3 innings while holding the opposition to an impressive .164 opponent batting average. You’d think he would deserve a better fate in terms of wins and losses, but he is just four games over .500 despite his dominance. Scherzer also enters play with a sparkling 0.78 WHIP across 16 starts. The Cardinals counter with Carlos Martinez, and he enters with a 6-6 mark, 2.88 ERA, 121 strikeouts over 106 1/3 innings and a .199 opponent average. It should be a fun pitcher’s duel.

Coldest pitcher: Kevin Gausman, Orioles (4-7, 6.07 ERA)

Gausman is finally starting to trend in the right direction after an ugly season, going 1-1 with a 2.45 ERA over his past two outings. However, he still has a long way to go before he can be trusted at the betting window again. He has managed a 3-3 record and 3.77 ERA over 45 1/3 innings in eight starts and one relief appearance against Tampa Bay since the start of the 2014 season. The O’s are 0-4 in their past four home games, but 13-4 over Gausman’s past 17 at Camden Yards. Baltimore is also 19-9 over their past 28 at home against teams with a losing road record.

Biggest UNDER run: Indians (12-3-2 past 17 games overall)

The ‘under’ has been a popular play for Cleveland and total bettors lately. The under is an impressive 12-3-2 over their past 17 games overall, 4-0-2 in their past six against teams with a losing record and, for what it’s worth, 4-0 in their past four games on Sunday. The under is also 23-6-2 over their past 31 games against divisional foes. The under has been a frequent happening when Mike Clevinger is on the mound, going 4-1 over his past five road starts, 12-3 in his past 15 starts overall and 6-1 over his past seven games teams with a losing overall mark. The under is also 4-0-1 in the past five meetings at Comerica Park.

Biggest OVER run: Reds (10-4 past 14 games overall)

It was a rare ‘under’ result for Cincinnati in Saturday’s game, but don’t expect that to become a frequent happening. The over is still 10-4 in Cincinnati’s past 14 games overall, 20-8 in their past 28 games against National League Central foes and 9-3 in their past 12 vs. RHP. The over is also 3-0-1 in Jake Arrieta’s past four tries agaisnt the Reds, 4-0-1 in the past five meetings at GABP and 34-14-3 in the past 51 meetings overall in this series.

Matchup to watch: Cardinals vs. Nationals

The Nationals head into Sunday’s series finale having won just two of their past seven games overall, and they’re a dismal 1-5 in the past six road outings. It’s a good thing they have Scherzer on the hill, as the Nats are 23-9 over his past 32 starts, 23-8 over his past 31 road outings and 9-2 in his past 11 starts on the road against teams with a losing overall mark. Washington is also an impressive 16-5 over his past 21 outings against a team with a losing overall record. The Cardinals have rattled off wins in each of the past four, including four in a row against teams with a winning overall record. They’re also an impressive 16-5 in their past 21 tries against NL East clubs.

Betcha didn’t know: Dodgers 2B Logan Forsythe has back-to-back four-hit games to match a career high, raising his average from .208 to .247 in just a pair of games. He is on quite the roll offensively for a Dodgers team that seems to have a new face rise up every day. OF Chris Taylor belted a grand slam in Saturday’s win in San Diego, and it’s starting to become a regularity. He has four career grand slams, with three of them coming this season. Jhoulys Chacin will look to hold the Dodgers down. He is 9-8 with a 4.37 ERA over 21 starts and one relief appearance against the Dodgers in his career.

MLB-Regular season- Weekend essentials

Hottest team: Dodgers (9-0 past nine games, 15-1 past 16 overall)

The Dodgers continued to mow down the competition on Saturday, turning back the division rival Rockies by a 4-0 count behind Clayton Kershaw. They have outscored the Rockies 10-1 over the first two games of the series, and they’re outscoring the competition 108-57 over the past 16 outings. Brandon McCarthy looks to keep the Dodgers in the win column on Sunday. They have won 13 of his past 16 starts at Chavez Ravine, and 11 of his past 15 outings. And for what it’s worth, the Dodgers have won each of McCarthy’s past six assignments on Sunday. The Rockies are slipping, winning just once in the past six road games while going 0-4 in their past four against divisional foes.

Coldest team: Giants (0-4 past four games, 1-11 past 12 overall)

While it’s very pleasing to Dodgers fans to see their team on the ‘hottest team’ area, it’s likely just as pleasing seeing the Giants in the ‘coldest team’ section. For bettors, they have been fading the Giants hard lately. San Francisco has not only lost four in a row, but they have lost by an average of 3.4 runs per game, and just two of their past 11 losses have been of the one-loss variety. The Giants have been outscored 16-6 over the first two games of the series against the Mets, who entered 1-7 in their previous eight games before wins Friday and Saturday. The Giants haven’t had much luck vs. RHP, going 3-13 over their past 16, including 0-7 in their past seven at home against righties.

Hottest pitcher: Ervin Santana, Twins (9-4, 2.97 ERA)

The Twins have picked up road victories in each of the first two games in Cleveland, and they look for the sweep on Sunday behind their best pitcher. Minnesota improved to 22-9 on the road this season, second-best in the majors only to Houston. The Twins are 17-4 in their past 21 road games vs. RHP, and 5-1 across Santana’s past six road outings. Santana’s dominance will be put to the test against a Cleveland team which is 8-0 in their past eight on a Sunday. The Indians are also 5-1 over Josh Tomlin’s past six against the Twins, while Minnesota is still just 5-14 over the past 19 games against Cleveland despite their 2-0 series advantage so far.

Coldest pitcher: Matt Moore, Giants (3-7, 5.82 ERA)

Moore has really struggled this season, allowing 55 earned runs through 15 starts, third-most in the majors this season. The opposition is hitting .297 against Moore this season, and he has allowed 32 walks and 102 hits through just 85 innings. San Francisco is just 1-5 over his six outings and 1-4 over his past five starts at home. The Giants are also 3-13 over their past 16 vs. RHP while going 0-7 in their past seven at home vs. RHP. San Francisco is also just 2-6 in Moore’s past eight starts with four days of rest while going 1-5 over his past six against National League East opponents.

Biggest UNDER run: Padres (5-1 past six games)

The ‘under’ has connected in five of the past six for the Padres, and the under is 8-2-1 in their past 11 in the third game of a series. They’re also 5-1 in Clayton Richard’s past six starts on a Sunday, while going 3-0-1 over his past four against a team with a losing record. The over has been hitting for Detroit lately, going 3-1-1 in their past five road games. However, the under is 5-2-1 in Detroit’s past eight interleague road outings and 3-1-1 in Jordan Zimmermann’s past five road starts. The over hit in Saturday’s game, but the under easily cashed in Friday’s interleague series opener.

Biggest OVER run: Diamondbacks (11-5-1 past 17 games overall)

The Diamondbacks had hit the ‘over’ frequently this season, and the over is 11-5-1 across the past 17 outings. They have been picking on right-handed pitching to post most of their offense, going 39-19-1 in their past 59 at home vs. RHP. The over is also 52-23-3 over the past 78 at home, including 25-10-1 in the past 36 at Chase Field against teams with a road winning percentage of .400 or less. The over is also 10-3 in Randall Delgado’s past 13 assignments, including 6-1 in his past seven outings when starting Game 3 of a series.

Matchup to watch: Cardinals vs. Pirates

Two ice-cold teams meet on Sunday night. These two National League Central Division foes had much higher expectations at the beginning of the season, but both find themselves several games under .500. The good news is that Pittsburgh is just four games back of the division-leading Brewers, while the Cards are five behind. So all is not lost despite the atrocious play at times, and this Sunday night game is tremendously important. The Bucs turn to Chad Kuhl to get the win, but they’re just 1-4 over his past five outings and 1-6 in his past seven on the road. The Cardinals aren’t much better lately, going 3-8 over their past 11 overall, 0-5 in their past five at home against a right-handed starter and 7-17 in their past 24 overall vs. RHP. They’re also just 1-4 in Mike Leake’s past five starts and 3-13 over his past 16 outings at home.

Betcha didn’t know: The Tigers have dropped eight in a row, and all eyes are on manager Brad Ausmus and whether or not the team will make a move to can him. In the meantime, Jordan Zimmermann gets the ball looking to snap Detroit’s lengthy skid. He has four straight quality starts, including three runs and six hits over 6 2/3 innings in his most recent outings against the Mariners on Tuesday. He hasn’t faced the Padres much in his career, when he has faced them it has been mostly favorable results. Zimm is 3-2 with a 1.69 ERA in eight career starts against the Padres, including a pair of complete games.

MLB-Regular season- Monday essentials

Hottest team: Indians (5-0 past five games)

The Indians were in a 3-7 tailspin from June 2-14, slipping two games behind the Twins for first place in the American League Central Division. A four-game sweep in Minnesota over the weekend has Cleveland flying high again all of a sudden. Now, they’ll look to stay hot in Baltimore against the skidding Orioles. It’s a pretty solid pitching matchup with Corey Kluber on the hill against O’s fireballer Dylan Bundy. The Tribe are 21-6 over Klubot’s past 27 starts, while going 7-3 across his past 10 road outings. The O’s have pieced together four wins over their past five at Oriole Park, but they’re just 3-8 over the past 11 overall. Baltimore has also dropped six in a row against teams with a winning overall record.

Coldest team Giants (0-6 past six games, 4-15 past 19 overall)

The Giants find themselves in a strange spot, as they’re mired in last place in the National League West Division and 19 1/2 games behind the first-place Rockies following their six-game losing streak and sweep in Denver. The Giants have a miserable minus-82 run differential, third-worst in the National League. They’ll turn to Johnny Cueto against the equally disappointing R.A. Dickey in Monday’s series opener at SunTrust Park in suburban Atlanta. The Giants are just 7-21 over their past 28 road games against a right-handed starter and they’re 0-6 in their past six overall vs. RHP. If anyone is going to save the Giants it’s Cueto, as San Francisco is 8-3 over his past 11 road outings against teams with a losing record, and 18-5 in his past 23 against teams with a losing overall mark.

Hottest pitcher: Clayton Kershaw, Dodgers (9-2, 2.23 ERA)

Kershaw was originally scheduled to start Sunday in Cincinnati, but he had his starts pushed back to Monday to start at home, lining him up for a pair of starts in the upcoming week. The Mets are probably not terribly pleased. The southpaw has posted a 2-0 record and 1.71 ERA with six walks and 27 strikeouts over 21 innings, lasting seven innings in all three of the quality starts. The Dodgers have posted an 8-1 record over their past nine series openers, and having Kershaw on the bump gives them a great chance to stay hot in regards to that trend. Los Angeles has managed a 42-11 record over his past 53 starts at Chavez Ravine.

Coldest pitcher: R.A. Dickey, Braves (4-5, 5.35 ERA)

The knuckleballer Dickey was tagged for eight earned runs over five innings in a loss June 13 at Washington in his most recent start, and he has won just once over the past eight starts. And that win came against the lowly Phillies, so don’t get terribly carried away. If anything, Dickey has a chance to win because he faces a team actually colder than he is — the Giants. They enter play with a lengthy losing streak to drop them into the NL West basement. However, San Francisco did rough him up for seven runs – six earned – and five walks over six innings in a loss May 28 in the Bay Area.

Biggest UNDER run: Rangers (7-3 past 10 games overall)

The Rangers were back to their ‘under’ ways after falling to the Mariners 7-3 in Sunday’s series final, coming in by a half-run. The ‘over’ had cashed in three in a row for Texas, but that’s mostly due to the struggles of the Mariners pitching staff. The under has cashed in six of the past eight vs. RHP, while going 13-5-1 in their past 19 series openers. The over is 9-3-1 in Texas’ past 13 at Globe Life Park in Arlington, however. The Blue Jays might help Austin Bibens-Dirkx cash the under Monday, as the under is 6-1-1 in Toronto’s past eight vs. AL West foes. The under is also 4-1-1 in their past six road contests.

Biggest OVER run: Orioles (8-2 past 10 games overall)

The ‘over’ has connected in six consecutive home games for the O’s, and they found their offense against the Cardinals pitching staff over the weekend. Baltimore averaged 8.3 runs per game in the three-game set while their pitching staff was dinged for 7.7 runs per outing. The O’s have given up at least five runs in 15 straight games dating back to June 3. That over will be put to the test, however, as the under is 12-4 over the past 16 meetings with the Indians, while going 7-0 in the past seven meetings at Camden Yards.

Matchup to watch: Dodgers vs. Mets

East meets West when the Mets invade Chavez Ravine to battle Kershaw and the Dodgers. L.A. aims for their fourth consecutive victory heading into a nine-game homestand. The Dodgers were awfully impressive sweeping the Reds at GABP in Cincinnati, although the way the Reds have been going it isn’t very shocking. The Mets should give the Dodgers a much stiffer test, especially with Zack Wheeler on the hill. He was pounded for eight runs over just 1 2/3 innings last time out against the Cubs, but he has three quality starts over the past four outings and five starts with three or fewer runs allowed while going at least six innings in five of the past seven. The Dodgers have won 11 of Kershaw’s past 13 starts against the Mets. The under is 6-0 in Kershaw’s past six against the Mets, while going 5-1 in the past six at Dodger Stadium.

Betcha didn’t know: The top pitching prospect for the Athletics, Daniel Gossett, was torched for seven runs – six earned – while retiring just 10 batters in his major league debut in Miami on Wednesday. He’ll give the home fans a look as the Astros check into for a divisional series. Gossett was 3-3 with a 3.41 ERA and 54 strikeouts over 60 2/3 innings at the Triple-A level. Since that ugly outing in Miami the A’s returned home for a surprising four-game sweep against the first-place New York Yankees. Oakland’s offense has averaged 6.0 runs per game over the past five outings to back their pitchers with plenty of run support lately.

NBA-Play Offs- Finals- Warriors complete the 4th win in style,we have the new champs !!!

Durant capped his spectacular first season with the Warriors by bringing home that coveted NBA championship he joined Golden State last July so determined to get, scoring 39 points in a fast-and-furious, Finals-clinching 129-120 victory over LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers in Game 5 on Monday night.

”You can talk about whatever you want to talk about, but nobody comes in and cares about the game or loves the game as much as I do or works as hard as do I at the basketball game. You can talk about whatever happens on the outside, but inside those lines, I come to bring it every day,” Durant said. ”I work hard, I believe in myself, I believe in the game, I respect the game, I love the game, and I knew at some point in my life that it will come around for me.”

Stephen Curry added 34 points, 10 assists and six rebounds as Golden State closed out its second title in three years after squandering a 3-1 lead a year ago. That stung ever since, and even Durant understood, because he gave up the same lead to the Warriors a round earlier with Oklahoma City.

James, who in 2012 with Miami beat the Thunder in Durant’s only other Finals, wound up with 41 points, 13 rebounds and eight assists.

”I left everything on the floor every game,” James said after averaging a triple-double in his eighth Finals.

Kyrie Irving followed up his 40-point gem in Game 4 with 26 points but shot 9 for 22.

This time, King James gave way to KD, who was the NBA Finals MVP 10 years after being picked second in the NBA draft behind Greg Oden.

Durant drove left, right and down the middle, knocked down 3-pointers, dished and dunked. He hit a 17-foot fadeaway over James early in the fourth quarter, then assisted on a 3-pointer by Andre Iguodala the next time down as the Warriors pulled away.

Iguodala, the 2015 Finals MVP, came up big again with his 2017 postseason-best 20 points off the bench in a testy, tightly called finale to this trilogy Finals that everyone had stamped on the calendar from the moment Durant departed Oklahoma City to join Curry and Co. last July.

The Warriors won in 2015 before the Cavs made their historic comeback last year. Then it was Golden State’s time again, with Durant as the prized addition.

Sure, the Warriors missed becoming the first undefeated champion, but 16-1 still gave Golden State the best winning percentage of any title team at .941.

Durant shot 14 for 20 and Curry – the two-time reigning MVP who took a backseat as the new big star got acclimated – finished off a brilliant postseason. Not to mention a healthy one after his 2016 injuries.

Green stayed on the court in a game that featured three technicals on one play 3:08 before halftime. David West fought for the ball with Irving, then they got tangled up and Tristan Thompson entered the fray and he and West went at each other face-to-face. West, Thompson and J.R. Smith received techs after a replay review.

Green had sat out this very game a year ago, suspended because of flagrant foul point accumulation after he swiped at James’ groin in Game 4. He had 10 points, 12 rebounds and five assists in the clincher.

”I had a letdown last year,” Green said. ”If KD was the consolation prize to lose, thanks for that loss, and we’re champs this year.”

With a much-improved bench led by Iguodala, JaVale McGee, Shaun Livingston and West, that ”Strength In Numbers” slogan that has become such a staple the past two seasons shined all season long, from Durant’s 19-game absence late in the regular season with a left knee injury to assistant coach Mike Brown stepping in for 11 postseason games to lead the way while Steve Kerr was ailing.

Golden State used a 28-4 second-quarter run to take charge – just after it appeared Durant should have been called for a third foul on a basket by James – and got to celebrate right at home in Oakland surrounded by a deafening home crowd waving yellow rally towels and holding up phones to shoot video and photos as the final minute of the clock ticked away.

The Warriors became the first Bay Area team to capture a championship at home since the A’s finished the Los Angeles Dodgers in Game 5 of the 1974 World Series.

A year ago, these Warriors fell short after a record-setting season that included a 24-0 start and 73 victories at the end to break the 1995-96 Chicago Bulls’ wins mark.

Then they got Durant, who after the buzzer sounded did a little shake with Curry on the court before they slapped hands several times.

Two playful superstars who found a way to coexist through all the questions and constant scrutiny, together and smiling as champions.

”I’m happy for him,” Curry said. ”You’ve got to call Kevin Durant a champ now.”