NBA standings 2012: Thunder take control of Northwest Division, keep pace atop West

Brett Deering

Oklahoma City extended their lead in the NBA's Northwest Division while remaining among the elite teams in the Western Conference.

After beating the Los Angeles Lakers on Friday night, the Oklahoma City Thunder padded their lead in the Northwest Division while keeping pace with the leaders in the Western Conference.

The Thunder have now on seven consecutive games and nine of their last ten to expand their division lead to 5.5 games over the Utah Jazz. The Denver Nuggets and Minnesota Timberwolves also won to move to .500 on the season, with both teams now six games behind the Thunder. The Portland Trail Blazers remain in the mix in last place, now 7.5 games behind the Thunder.

The Thunder join the Memphis Grizzlies and San Antonio Spurs as the elite teams in the West now starting to separate themselves from the rest of the pack. The three teams are deadlocked with Memphis holding a percentage points lead. The Los Angeles Clippers are now trying to keep the leaders in sight sitting three game behind Memphis.

Seven Western Conference teams, lead by the sixth place Utah Jazz, are within two games of one another, battling for the final three playoff spots in the conference.

In the Eastern Conference, the New York Knicks took advantage of their win over the Miami Heat to take over the top spot, 1.5 games ahead of Miami. The Atlanta Hawks are 8-2 in their last ten games and are now sitting in third place in the East, just two games behind the Knicks.

Here's a look at the full NBA standings.

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