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NBA standings 2012: Thunder's strangle hold on Northwest Division continues

The Oklahoma City Thunder hold a 6 1/2 game lead over the Denver Nuggets in the Northwest Division despite suffering their first losing streak of the season in the last week.

Mark D. Smith-USA TODAY Sports

The end of December is a little early to predict the winner of any division race in the NBA, but the Oklahoma City Thunder are making it tough to argue for anyone else to finish atop the Northwest Division standings this spring.

Despite their first two-game losing streak of the season, the Thunder, at 22-6, maintain a 6 1/2 game lead over the Denver Nuggets in the Northwest. The Nuggets are followed closely by the Portland Trailblazers, Minnesota Timberwolves and Utah Jazz.

The Thunder trail the Los Angeles Clippers, winners of 16 straight, by one game for first place in the Western Conference and lead the San Antonio Spurs by just a half-game for second place in the conference. The Thunder's record took a slight hit over the last ten days when the Timberwolves snapped their 12-game win streak. Oklahoma City then lost to the Miami Heat Christmas Day and had to stage a furious comeback to beat the Mavericks in overtime Thursday night.

In the Eastern Conference, the Heat hold a two-game lead over the Atlanta Hawks in the Southeast Division, the New York Knicks lead the Brooklyn Nets by 5 1/2 games in the Atlantic Division and the Indiana Pacers, winners of four straight, now hold a one-game lead over the Chicago Bulls and Milwaukee Bucks in the Central Division.

Here's a look at the complete Western Conference standings.

Western Standings

Los Angeles Clippers 30 24-6 .800
Oklahoma City Thunder 28 22-6 .786
San Antonio Spurs 31 23-8 .742
Memphis Grizzlies 26 18-8 .692
Golden State Warriors 30 20-10 .667
Houston Rockets 29 16-13 .552
Denver Nuggets 31 17-14 .548
Portland Trail Blazers 28 14-14 .500
Los Angeles Lakers 30 15-15 .500
Minnesota Timberwolves 26 13-13 .500
Utah Jazz 31 15-16 .484
Dallas Mavericks 30 12-18 .400
Phoenix Suns 30 11-19 .367
Sacramento Kings 29 10-19 .345
New Orleans Hornets 29 6-23 .207