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Thursday, May 12, 2011
Bulls, Derrick Rose look to advance

By Nick Friedell
ESPNChicago.com

ATLANTA -- Chicago Bulls point guard Derrick Rose is entering Game 6 of the Eastern Conference semifinals against the Atlanta Hawks Thursday night with a singular mindset.

"This is the biggest game of our life right here," said Rose, whose team leads the series 3-2. "That's the way we have to go into it, where this is our championship game. It's important to us. We're going to try our hardest just to go out here and just try to seal the deal."

Rose said that was the message delivered to him and his teammates by Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau.

"[Thibodeau] told us that, but it's the truth," Rose said. "It's absolutely the truth, where we can't look ahead. We have a chance to do it tonight, to win on the road. This is definitely a huge game. But we got to act like it is."

The Bulls enter Game 6 with a chance to close out the Hawks and advance to the Eastern Conference finals, where they would face off against the Miami Heat in Game 1 Sunday night in Chicago.

The Hawks are confident they will be able to push this series to a Game 7. Atlanta forward Josh Smith said he has a similar mindset to Rose's.

"This can be the determining factor of whether we go home or not," Smith said. "It definitely is one of the biggest games of the season for us, and pretty much for my career, because this is a team that has something special, and we have to fight and try to get another win."

Nick Friedell covers the Bulls for ESPNChicago.com and ESPN 1000.