Noah insists that the East is more than a two-team race.
There were 10 games on the NBA schedule on Monday night, with the Chicago Bulls securing a morale boosting home win over divisional rivals the Indiana Pacers.
Having lost on the road to the Pacers just four days ago, the Bulls ensured that with the season series over, the two teams split four games with the home team winning each one.
Coupled with their impressive form against the Miami Heat, Joakim Noah believes that as long as his team stay hungry, they are capable of ousting one of the top two seeds come playoff time.
“We feel like we can go at anybody, we can beat anybody, when we’re hungry. Stay humble and keep grinding,” Noah said. “I said right after the game, ‘I’m excited about having an opportunity to play these guys again.'”
Taj Gibson had 23 points and eight rebounds off the bench while Kirk Hinrich, Mike Dunleavy, Jimmy Butler and Noah all ended in double scoring figures.
The Bulls (40-31) moved closer toward that third seed with the win, while the Heat were able to close the gap at the top of the standings after their win over the Portland Trail Blazers.
It wasn’t a victory without drama though, as LeBron James’ layup put Miami up with 11.4 seconds left, with Chris Bosh capping his 30th birthday with a block on Damian Lillard on the final play to seal the win for the defending champions.
Points were shared right across the court on both teams, but essentially Bosh got the reaction he wanted from the team when he called for more passion after the loss to the New Orleans Pelicans on Saturday.
Next up are the Pacers on Wednesday which hands Miami the chance to close the gap further to snatch the first seed away from their rivals.
Over in the Western Conference, the San Antonio Spurs extended their winning streak to 14 games, with Austin Daye scoring 22 points and Tim Duncan adding 19 in their win over Philadelphia.
In contrast, it was a 25th consecutive loss for the Sixers, and it came despite Gregg Popovich opting to rest Tony Parker, Tiago Splitter and Danny Green.
The Spurs (54-16) are now two games above the Oklahoma City Thunder who were also victorious on Monday as Kevin Durant scored 27 points in their win over the Denver Nuggets.
There were important implications in the playoff race too, as although the Houston Rockets and Los Angeles Clippers continue to glide towards the post-season, the Phoenix Suns moved back into the eighth spot in the West after their win over the Atlanta Hawks.
It’s getting nervy in Atlanta as the New York Knicks now trail them by just two-and-a-half games, while the dream may finally be up for the Minnesota Timberwolves who fell seven games behind Phoenix.
Houston Rockets 100-89 Charlotte Bobcats
Phoenix Suns 102-95 Atlanta Hawks
Portland Trail Blazers 91-93 Miami Heat
Indiana Pacers 77-89 Chicago Bulls
Minnesota Timberwolves 92-109 Memphis Grizzlies
Brooklyn Nets 104-109 New Orleans Pelicans
Denver Nuggets 96-117 Oklahoma City Thunder
Philadelphia 76ers 91-113 San Antonio Spurs
Detroit Pistons 114-94 Utah Jazz
Milwaukee Bucks 98-106 Los Angeles Clippers