Is Western Conference a title lock?

Examining the West-East disparity and its impact on who wins NBA crown

Updated: December 16, 2013, 1:43 PM ET
By Justin Kubatko | ESPN Insider

George-DurantGetty ImagesDoes the NBA's conference gap give a title edge to Paul George's Pacers or Kevin Durant's Thunder?

One of the big themes of the first two months of the 2013-14 NBA season has been the dominance of the Western Conference over the Eastern Conference.

In West versus East matchups, the West has a winning percentage of .716, a mark that would obliterate the league record of .633 set by the West in the 2003-04 season.

And these games are not particularly close: The average margin of victory is 6.0 points, more than a point per game better than the highest figure prior to this season.

But does this matter when it comes to winning championships? The answer is, unsurprisingly, yes.

Although the head-to-head difference has not always been this extreme, it is not a new development. Since the 1999-2000 season, the West has had the advantage in all but one season, posting a cumulative winning percentage of .573 over that span (see chart at right for a historical breakdown).