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NBA standings 2012: Spurs leads way in West, Knicks rolling early in East

The NBA standings have some familiar teams leading the way but also include some surprising names at the top and bottom of the standings.

Derick E. Hingle-US PRESSWIRE

The San Antonio Spurs are off to a strong start with a 5-1 record that has them sitting in first place among Western Conference teams. The top of the West remains bunched together though, with the top six teams within just one game of the Spurs.

That includes the Dallas Mavericks (4-2) who are currently slotted fifth in the Western Conference standings and third in the Southwest Division behind the Spurs and Memphis Grizzlies (4-1).

The biggest surprise in the standings is the sight of the Los Angeles Lakers sitting in the West's cellar after a 2-4 start which led to the firing of coach Mike Brown. Toward the top of the standings, the Minnesota Timberwolves (4-1) are currently leading the Northwest Division and in second place in the West despite playing without injured stars, Ricky Rubio and Kevin Love.

In the East, the Miami Heat (5-1) are off to a strong start as expected, but they are still in second place behind the New York Knicks (4-0). The Knicks remain the only unbeaten team in the NBA while making sure to grab their share of basketball attention as they now share New York with the Brooklyn Nets.

The Nets have been inconsistent to start but at 2-2 are in sixth place in the muddled Eastern Conference standings. Among the other surprises in the East, the Milwaukee Bucks lead the Central Division with 3-1 record while the Boston Celtics are in eighth in the East after a 2-3 start.

Photographs by jamesbrandon, jdtornow, phlezk, flygraphix, mcdlttx, tomasland, and literalbarrage used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.