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NBA standings 2012: Bulls sit atop the Central Division

Although they haven't played since Wednesday, the Chicago Bulls remain atop the Eastern Conference's Central Division standings with a 12-9 overall record. The Bulls will next play Saturday when they host the Brooklyn Nets.

Dennis Wierzbicki-US PRESSWIRE

Although the Chicago Bulls haven't played since Wednesday, they remain atop the Central Division standings entering Saturday night's game against Brooklyn. The Bulls are currently 12-9 overall, which has them tied with Milwaukee for the division lead.

What has made the Bulls strong start even more impressive is that they're in first place without the services of injured point guard Derrick Rose. The former league MVP injured his knee on April 28 and hasn't played since.

Without Rose in the lineup, other players have stepped up, including veterans Luol Deng and Joakim Noah. Deng is leading Chicago with 17.9 points per game, while Noah is adding in 13.9 points and 10.6 rebounds a night. Noah's 21 points and seven rebounds helped lead the Bulls to a 96-89 win over Philadelphia on Wednesday night.

Behind Chicago and Milwaukee, Indiana sits in third place in the standings with an 12-11 overall record, while Detroit is seven games off the lead with a 7-18 mark. Cleveland is in last place with a 5-19 record.