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NBA standings 2012: Knicks maintain comfortable lead atop Atlantic

The Knicks suffered a tough loss on Friday night, but remain in a good position in the Easter Conference standings.

USA TODAY Sports

The New York Knicks (21-9) hold a 5.5-game lead over the Brooklyn Nets (15-14) in the Atlantic division. The Boston Celtics (14-14) and Philadelphia 76ers (14-16) remain in the hunt. In addition, the Knicks are just a half-game behind the Miami Heat for the best record in the Eastern Conference.

In the Central, the Indiana Pacers (17-12) have a one-game lead over the Milwaukee Bucks (15-12) and the Chicago Bulls (15-12). Very little has changed In the Southeast, where the Miami Heat (20-7) are two games ahead of the Atlanta Hawks (18-9).

The San Antonio Spurs (23-8) have won four-consecutive games and now lead the Memphis Grizzlies (18-8) by 2.5 games in the Southwest. The Oklahoma City Thunder (22-6) have a comfortable lead in the Northwest over the Denver Nuggets (17-14). In the Pacific, the Los Angeles Clippers (24-6) are the hottest team in the NBA. With their 16-game winning streak, the Clippers now have the best record in the league.