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NBA 2012 standings: Thunder hold on to top spot in Western Conference

Oklahoma City lost a little ground in the West after a rare loss on Thursday but remain in first place.

Jesse Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

The serious contenders among the elite in the Western Conference took advantage of a rare loss by the Oklahoma City Thunder on Thursday night by winning on Friday night.

The Minnesota Timberwolves drew within seven games of the Thunder by beating Oklahoma City on Thursday to move up to sixth place in the conference standings. Meanwhile the race at the top is getting crowded.

The surging Los Angeles Clippers beat Sacramento for their 12th consecutive win to move into second place in the West, just one game behind OKC.

The Clippers recently jumped past the Memphis Grizzlies and San Antonio Spurs to join the elite teams in the West. Memphis held onto third place, two games behind the Thunder by beating Dallas on Friday night. The Spurs are percentage points behind the Grizz in fourth place after beating New Orleans to keep pace.

Lurking in fifth place are the Golden State Warriors who beat Charlotte on Friday to win their eight game in 10 tries and draw within 3.5 games of first place.

In the Eastern Conference, the Miami Heat and New York Knicks remain atop the standings, but Atlanta, Chicago, Milwaukee and Indiana have all closed within at worst 4.5 games of the leaders.

Here is a look at the full NBA standings.