Sure, Pau Gasol and the Los Angeles Lakers are well aware a regular-season sweep means nothing compared to a playoff sweep.
The Lakers are still pleased they're controlling this rivalry with the Dallas Mavericks heading to another postseason in which they just might meet again -- and they even did it without Kobe Bryant.
Andrew Bynum had 23 points and 16 rebounds, Gasol made back-to-back 3-pointers in overtime, and the Lakers won their fourth consecutive game without the NBA's leading scorer, 112-108 over the Dallas Mavericks on Sunday.
Ramon Sessions scored 22 points, and Gasol had 20 points and 10 rebounds as Los Angeles rallied from a fourth-quarter deficit before finishing off a four-game season sweep of the defending champion Mavericks, who swept the two-time champion Lakers out of last season's playoffs.
''This team eliminated us last year, and they're the champs right now,'' said Gasol, who buried his sixth and seventh 3-pointers of the season in OT. ''If we face them again, I don't know if this 4-0 in the regular season will be worth a whole lot. We'll have to start over and make sure we play as hard as we've been playing lately.''
Coach Mike Brown thought the Lakers put together a remarkable team effort in Bryant's absence, with everybody on the floor in overtime contributing a key play. Matt Barnes' cagey defense capped the OT effort against Jason Terry, who missed what should have been an easy tying layup with five seconds left.
With the Lakers holding the No. 3 spot in the West playoff picture and the Mavs at No. 6, both teams realize they could meet again in two weeks. The Lakers boosted their lead over the Clippers atop the Pacific Division to 1 1/2 games with six to play. The Lakers also have the tiebreaker edge on their next-door rivals.
''We're excited about the playoffs, but we're still going to have that bitter taste in our mouths until then,'' Barnes said.