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2012 NBA standings: Knicks No. 1 in East after J.R. Smith's buzzer-beater

The New York Knicks are the No. 1 team in the Eastern Conference, although that could change as they face the No. 2 team Thursday night when they play the Miami Heat. The Brooklyn Nets are second to the Knicks in their division.

Streeter Lecka

The New York Knicks are tops in the Eastern Conference - at least for about 24 hours - having pulled ahead of the Miami Heat with their fourth straight win.

That win came Wednesday night on the strength of a J.R. Smith jumper that gave the Knicks a 100-98 win over the Charlotte Bobcats. New York found themselves in a dogfight against the middling Bobcats, and without their star as Carmelo Anthony had to go to the locker room with a lacerated finger with under three minutes to go. But Smith, the much-maligned purported ballhog, got a crucial steal with under ten seconds left, then got the ball out of the timeout. He moved quickly, drilling an 18-footer to give his team another win heading into Thursday's matchup between the Knicks and Heat.

As for New York's newest team, they've hit a rough patch after a five-game win streak of their own. They had to match up against both NBA Finals squads from last year, falling in three days to both the Heat and the Oklahoma City Thunder, both times finding themselves down by double digits against superior opponents, although they did almost come back from a 16-point deficit against the Thunder. They're two games behind the Knicks in the Atlantic Division.

Here's a look at the Eastern Conference standings after Wednesday night's action:

Eastern Standings

New York Knicks 17 13-4 .765
Miami Heat 16 12-4 .750
Atlanta Hawks 15 10-5 .667
Chicago Bulls 17 9-8 .529
Brooklyn Nets 17 11-6 .647
Philadelphia 76ers 18 10-8 .556
Boston Celtics 18 10-8 .556
Indiana Pacers 19 10-9 .526
Milwaukee Bucks 17 8-9 .471
Charlotte Bobcats 17 7-10 .412
Orlando Magic 18 7-11 .389
Detroit Pistons 20 6-14 .300
Cleveland Cavaliers 19 4-15 .211
Toronto Raptors 19 4-15 .211
Washington Wizards 15 2-13 .133