Before the Los Angeles Lakers knocked off the Chicago Bulls at the Staples Center on Sunday, the weekend had already been great for their chances of reaching the playoffs. The Golden State Warriors, Houston Rockets and Utah Jazz -- the three teams that are closest to L.A. in the standings -- all played back-to-back games on Friday and Saturday and won a combined one of them (Houston over Golden State in a game that NBA rules dictate one of them had to win). As a result, the Lakers' victory on Sunday lifted them into the eighth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference.
If the Lakers' season were a movie -- and at this point somebody in Hollywood is probably writing up a treatment -- this would be the montage where they make up ground on the teams in front of them. We'd see shots of the Warriors, Rockets and Jazz missing shots, turning the ball over and giving up open 3-pointers intercut with Kobe Bryant's clutch heroics that have allowed the Lakers to overcome their own poor play against lesser foes like New Orleans and Toronto.