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2012 NBA standings: Can Kyrie Irving save the Cavaliers now?

Kyrie Irving is back in the lineup for the Cleveland Cavaliers, but is it too late for a team that has suffered through 18 losses over its first 23 games?

Eric P. Mull-US PRESSWIRE

The Cleveland Cavaliers have lost 18 of their first 23 games and they own the third-worst record in the NBA heading into the action on Thursday. Budding superstar Kyrie Irving recently returned to the lineup, but this task seems too tall even for a top young talent like Irving.

The East is undeniably weak this season, especially in the bottom half of the playoff bracket, but it would take a superhuman effort from Kyrie to lift the Cavs from the basement to the eighth seed by the end of the season. The Indiana Pacers and Chicago Bulls figure to improve drastically when Danny Granger and Derrick Rose return, and other eighth seed hopefuls like the Milwaukee Bucks and Philadelphia 76ers simply boast more depth than Cleveland has to offer. It should be fun to see what type of damage Irving can do, but that damage will be done while the Cavs play spoiler.

Here is a look at the teams the Cavs are chasing in the East. You can get a more comprehensive version of the NBA standings here.

EAST Standings W L PCT GB
1 New York Knicks 16 5 0.762 -
2 Miami Heat 14 6 0.7 1 ½
3 Atlanta Hawks 13 6 0.684 2
4 Chicago Bulls 12 9 0.571 4
5 Brooklyn Nets 12 9 0.571 4
6 Boston Celtics 12 9 0.571 4
7 Milwaukee Bucks 11 9 0.55 4 ½
8 Philadelphia 76ers 12 10 0.545 4 ½

Photographs by spatulated, Triple Tri, and chrischappelear used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.