Kobe Bryant was asked what it felt like to be a "playoff team," his Los Angeles Lakers having just moved into the No. 8 spot in the Western Conference after a 90-81 victory over the visiting Chicago Bulls on Sunday.
Bryant, who had 19 points, nine assists and seven rebounds, let out a less-than-enthusiastic "yippee."
The win improved the Lakers to 33-31, the first time they have been two games over .500 all season. They are one-half game ahead of Utah for the final playoff spot. And while the Lakers may feel a sense of accomplishment in reaching playoff position after such a poor start to the season, Bryant is quick to note there is plenty still left to do.
"We're very focused," Bryant said. "We know what we have to do and what lies ahead. Everybody's locked in."
Heat 105, Pacers 91: Miami won its 18th consecutive game, topping visiting Indiana despite a season-low 13 points from LeBron James.
The 18-game streak ties the seventh longest in NBA history and is the league's best since the Boston Celtics won 19 straight during the 2008-09 season.
Thunder 91, Celtics 79: Kevin Durant had 23 points and 11 rebounds, and host Oklahoma City beat Boston to stretch its winning streak to five games.
Bucks 115, Kings 113: Monta Ellis had 29 points and Mike Dunleavy scored 14 of his 16 points after taking a vicious elbow to the head as Milwaukee held off host Sacramento.
"I'm not even sure what I did," Dunleavy said. "I thought I was just blocking him out."
Clippers 129, Pistons 97: Blake Griffin scored 22 points and Chris Paul had 20 points and 14 assists as host Los Angeles easily defeated Detroit.
Clippers center DeAndre Jordan slammed home a monster dunk on an alley-oop that Griffin called "the best dunk of the year and the best I've seen in person."
Magic 99, 76ers 91: Jameer Nelson had 24 points as Orlando held off Philadelphia to end its seven-game home losing streak.
Mavericks 100, Timberwolves 77: Vince Carter had 22 points and nine rebounds to help Dallas win in Minneapolis.
Hornets 98, Trail Blazers 96: Ryan Anderson made a layup as he was fouled with 1.8 seconds left, and host New Orleans snapped a three-game skid by beating Portland.
Raptors, 100, Cavaliers 96: Amir Johnson had 17 points and 16 rebounds, and host Toronto rallied from a 17-point deficit to beat Cleveland.
Cavaliers point guard Kyrie Irving was knocked out by a shoulder injury late in the third quarter.