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NBA standings 2013: Hawks sitting 3rd in East

The Atlanta Hawks are looking like a force in the Eastern Conference as the new year starts.

Josh D. Weiss-US PRESSWIRE

The NBA season is approaching its halfway point, and the Atlanta Hawks are anything but fading.

After a fast start, most pundits figured Atlanta (20-11) would slide back to the middle of the pack, but Larry Drew's team has stayed right on the Miami Heat (22-9), trailing them by just two games for the Southeast Division and Eastern Conference lead.

The New York Knicks (22-10) are second in the East only a half-game behind Miami, but have a comfortable 4 1/2-game lead over the Brooklyn Nets (17-14) in the Atlantic.

Out West, it's all about the Oklahoma City Thunder, Los Angeles Clippers and San Antonio Spurs.

Oklahoma City (25-7) owns the league's best record by percentage points, as it's tied with the Clippers (26-8). Despite losing to New York on Thursday, San Antonio (26-9) is only a half game back of the duo.

The Golden State Warriors are the biggest surprise of all, holding onto the No. 4 seed in the West with a 22-10 mark.

Photographs by coka_koehler used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.