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NBA 2012 standings: Heat lead in the Southeast by 2.5 games

The Miami Heat have the best winning percentage (.739) in the Eastern Conference.

USA TODAY Sports

The Miami Heat (17-6) were off on Friday, but their lead in the Southeast Division grew to 2.5 over the Hawks. Atlanta (15-9) has lost two games in a row, while Miami has won its last three. The Orlando Magic (12-14) are in third place in the division, and trail the Hawks by four games. Prior to a loss on Friday night, the Magic had won four straight games.

Around the Eastern Conference, the New York Knicks (19-7) have a comfortable lead atop the Atlantic division. New York lost on Friday night to the Chicago Bulls, but still leads the Brooklyn Nets by 5.5 games in the division. With the win, Chicago maintained a one-game advantage in the Central over the Milwaukee Bucks and the Indiana Pacers. Milwaukee and Indiana also won their games on Friday night.

In the West, the Oklahoma City Thunder hold the NBA's best record at 21-5, and a seven-game lead in the Northwest division. The Los Angeles Clippers have a slim lead in the Pacific division, while the San Antonio Spurs and Memphis Grizzlies are neck-and-neck atop the Southwest.

Photographs by cstreet.us, thelastminute, turtlemom nancy , fesek, kthypryn, justinwright, sue_elias, pointnshoot, and scrapstothefuture used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.