The two biggest factor in the relative strength of the and total number of points in the Eastern Conference are the number of ties and the East record against the West, as we’ve discussed before. Changes to these factors will cause the playoff red line to go up or down.
Last year the East just stopped playing to draws in the last quarter of the season. Only 16.7% of East draws came in that last 25% of the season.
Also, last year the East earned 1.14 PPG against the West in the first 85 interconference games through August. Then the East went 8-4-3 for 1.80 PPG against the West in the last 2 months.
There is no reason to think the East will do either of those again, but there was no reason to think they would do it last year either.