After enduring very physical matchups against the Knicks, Pacers and now the Celtics, Shane Battier has come around on the East being the more physical conference (via Miami Sun-Sentinel): “After a decade in the NBA, Shane Battier blew it off as mere bluster, the notion of the Eastern Conference being more physical. ‘I didn’t think it was real,’ he said as the Miami Heat prepared for this latest challenge against the Boston Celtics in the Eastern Conference finals. But now, after six months in the East following 10 seasons in the Western Conference with the Memphis Grizzlies and Houston Rockets? ‘Yeah,’ he said. ‘It’s real.’ [...] ‘It’s much more of a physical tempo. I guess ‘tempo’ is the right word,’ he said. ‘In the Western Conference, it’s much more free-flowing. The philosophies are more open, so, as a result, I think there’s less physical play.’ Battier acknowledged he was among those to scoff at the eastern bravado. ‘We always thought the Eastern Conference weren’t basketball players,’ he said with a hearty laugh. ‘We thought they were just thugs, unskilled thugs. Of course now, the tables are turned.’”