Bulls silence Hawks
Taj Gibson had 11 points — all in the fourth quarter. Rose also scored 11 in the fourth, and the Bulls pounded the Hawks, 26-15, in the quarter.
“Taj, man, he just doesn’t know how good he is right now,’’ Rose said. “Still young, still trying to learn the game, but he came in and did what he’s supposed to do.’’
Game 6 is tomorrow in Atlanta, and Chicago is one win from its first conference finals appearance since 1998, when Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen wrapped up their second championship three-peat.
“Play defense,’’ Rose said of what the Bulls need to do in Game 6. “That’s our whole game plan is playing defense. Our offense will be there, but if we continue to help each other, rebound the ball and run, I think that we should be in good shape.’’
Rose showed why he is the league’s youngest MVP, hitting 11 of 24 shots and finishing with nine assists. It was a big improvement over Game 4 when he needed 32 shots to score 34 points.
That was enough to offset another strong performance by Atlanta’s Jeff Teague. Filling in for the injured Kirk Hinrich, he delivered his third 21-point game of the series.
Josh Smith scored 16 points for the Hawks, and Joe Johnson had 15 and Al Horford added 12 points and 10 rebounds.
It hasn’t been an easy postseason for the Bulls after they stormed to a league-leading 62 wins. They got pushed by Indiana and are getting all they can handle from the Hawks, yet they are in a good position thanks to a strong fourth quarter.