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NBA standings 2012: Knicks now second in Eastern Conference, Nets struggling

The New York Knicks lost on Christmas Day, but they're still six games ahead of the closest competition in the Atlantic Division.


The New York Knicks aren't the top team in the Eastern Conference anymore, but they still have a commanding lead in the Atlantic Division and are within striking distance of the Miami Heat.

The Heat are starting to show why they won the NBA Finals last season, reeling off six-straight wins including a Christmas Day victory over the Oklahoma City Thunder. That win, coupled with New York's loss on the same day to the Los Angeles Lakers, dropped New York half a game behind the Heat. But New York bounced back by beating the Phoenix Suns on the strength of a J.R. Smith game-winner. Their 7-3 record in the last ten games is actually a bit below their overall winning percentage.

They might not be in line to take the No. 1 seed in the East anymore, but they're cruising in their division thanks in part to the struggles of the Brooklyn Nets. The Nets have gone 3-10 in the month of December, and lost their last two games by 17 and 15 points, respectively. That leaves them in third place in the division after a strong start, at .500 and 6.5 games behind the Knicks.

Here's a look at the complete Eastern Conference standings after Wednesday night's games.

Eastern Standings

Miami Heat 25 19-6 .760
New York Knicks 28 20-8 .714
Atlanta Hawks 25 16-9 .640
Indiana Pacers 28 16-12 .571
Chicago Bulls 27 15-12 .556
Milwaukee Bucks 26 14-12 .538
Brooklyn Nets 27 14-13 .519
Boston Celtics 27 14-13 .519
Philadelphia 76ers 28 13-15 .464
Orlando Magic 27 12-15 .444
Toronto Raptors 28 9-19 .321
Detroit Pistons 30 9-21 .300
Charlotte Bobcats 27 7-20 .259
Cleveland Cavaliers 29 6-23 .207
Washington Wizards 25 3-22 .120