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NBA standings 2012: Timberwolves moving up in the Northwest Division

Thanks to three wins in their last four games, the Minnesota Timberwolves are now only six games back in the Northwest Division standings. Oklahoma City is 16-4 overall and atop the division.

Jesse Johnson-US PRESSWIRE

The Minnesota Timberwolves are one of the hottest teams in the NBA right now, and are slowly moving up the Northwest Division standings because of it. Minnesota has won three of their last four games, including Friday night's victory over Cleveland.

The difference has been the return of Kevin Love, who re-entered the lineup nine games ago, after suffering an off-season injury. Love is averaging 21.2 points and 14.2 rebounds this season, and had a season-high 36 points in Friday's 91-73 win.

And with the win, Minnesota has now moved to 9-9 overall and within six games of Northwest Division leading Oklahoma City. The Thunder sit at 16-4 after Friday's win over the Lakers, while Utah is 11-10 overall and 5.5 games back. Denver (10-10) is tied with Minnesota for fourth in the division, while Portland is in last place at 8-11 overall.

And for Minnesota, things should only get better with a very manageable schedule ahead of them.

The Timberwolves don't play against until Wednesday when they host Denver, and then play three straight games against below .500 teams. They'll face off against Dallas, New Orleans and Orlando before heading to Miami on December 18.

Photographs by Micah Taylor, clairity, and Fibonacci Blue used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.