Midway through January, the Chicago Bulls are off to the hottest start of any team in the shortened 2011-12 NBA season. They currently hold a record of 12-2, which easily places them atop both their Central Division and the entire Eastern Conference.
The Bulls hold a two-game lead for first place in the Central, staying ahead of the 9-3 Indiana Pacers, who are the only other team in the division to currently hold a winning record.
In the Eastern Conference, the Bulls likewise hold a two-game lead over the Philadelphia 76ers and the Pacers. In fourth place with an 8-3 record is the Orlando Magic with an 8-3 record, followed by the Atlanta Hawks, at 9-4. The 8-4 Miami Heat are the only other team in the entire conference with a winning record as of January 15.
The shortened season has opened up all sorts of possibilities where the standings are concerned, with every win and loss having visible impact on the standings. Still, the Bulls remain in the catbird seat for now and are extremely capable of not only holding their lead, but adding to it in the coming weeks and months.