CLEVELAND -- After declaring himself good to go for Game 5 tonight despite a sore left ankle, Derrick Rose said the assumptions that the Bulls have no chance of extending their first-round series against Cleveland Cavaliers to a Game 6 are just wrong.
"Today is one of those days when everybody's feeling good, shooting the ball well," Rose said after the Bulls' morning shootaround in Quicken Loans Arena. "Everybody's focused and I think we can get a win tonight.
"I know they're the best team in the NBA, but I think we can get some more wins."
Of course, his health will be a big factor in whether the Bulls can pull the upset tonight. Rose injured his ankle in the third quarter of Game 4 when he handed on the foot of Cavaliers center Shaquille O'Neal.
Following a timeout to let him walk off the initial pain, Rose stayed in the game. But after the game, the ankle flared up and the Bulls sent him for a precautionary MRI on Monday.
Rose, though, said the ankle felt much better this morning and he participated in the shootaround.
"It's fine," he said. "I thought I was gonna have to take a shot before the game the way it was feeling right afterwards and [Monday]. But I got treatment, put cream on it, took some pills and today it feels good."
Forward Luol Deng, who's bothered by a sore right calf and left knee, also is expected to play tonight.
"They feel a little bit better," Bulls coach Vinny Del Negro said. "They're sore, but they'll be out there. They'll be ready to go. They've been battling all year, fighting through different things, so I'll expect the same tonight."
The Bulls closed the regular season with essentially three must-wins just to make the playoffs. If they lost any of those games, their season would have been over, so the situation they face in Game 5 shouldn't be foreign to them.
"Knowing that this can be our last game, we just have to give it our all and go out there and play hard," Rose said. "I know I am. I know the team is."
For what it's worth, the Bulls seemed remarkably upbeat and relaxed following the shootaround.
"We just have to go in with the right mindset and try to get a win in a hostile environment," center Joakim Noah said. "If we don't, it's over, so I think we're all gonna be on edge and focused and we'll try to bring this thing back to Chicago for Game 6."
Instead of dreading what could prove to be an elimination game, Noah said he was looking forward to the challenge.
"I'm very excited," he said. "It's an unbelievable stage to play on against one of the best teams in the world. It's exciting."
Noah also was light-hearted when asked what has to chance from Game 4 for the Bulls to have a chance.
"Hopefully, LeBron [James] doesn't make half-court shots," Noah said. "That would be a start. Hopefully, they don't shoot as well from the three and, hopefully, we can be a little more aggressive at both ends and understand what's at stake. We're looking forward to competing."