ATLANTA — Derrick Rose simply had to run the show.
He had plenty of help Thursday, and the Bulls are off to the East final for the first time since Michael Jordan played for them.
Carlos Boozer scored 23, and Rose had 12 assists, pushing Chicago to a big lead in the first half that carried it past Atlanta 93-73 in Game 6 of the East semifinals.
Chicago reached its first conference final since 1998, when Jordan and Scottie Pippen were on their way to a second three-peat. The Bulls fell on hard times after that, including three consecutive 60-loss seasons. But this regular season, they won more games than anyone.
Even more than the ballyhooed Heat, which Chicago meets starting Sunday.
"It's not surprising me at all where we're at right now," Rose said. "We know that we have something special in front of us."
Rose, the league MVP, was in the middle of things all night. He scored 19 and set up several of Chicago's baskets. But this was a textbook team victory.
The Bulls had assists on all but seven of their 31 baskets while holding the Hawks to 37 percent shooting (27-of-74).
Meanwhile, Boozer went 10-of-16 from the field and added 10 rebounds and five assists.
"Booze had everything going," Rose said.
Atlanta had hoped to extend the series to a Game 7, believing the pressure would be squarely on the Bulls if it came down to a winner-take-all. But Chicago squashed those hopes right from the opening tip. The Bulls never trailed, and the lead was 10 by the end of the first quarter.
With the loss, the Hawks still have never advanced past the second round since moving from St. Louis in 1968.
Joe Johnson led them with 19 points. Josh Smith was the only other player in double figures with 18. Al Horford, named to the All-NBA third team earlier in the day, went 2-of-10 from the field. So did Jamal Crawford, the victim of persistent double-teaming since he had a big game in Atlanta's Game 1 win.
And Atlanta went 1-of-11 on 3-pointers.
"What goes underrated about them is the depth of their team," Horford said. "They just wear on you. They just kept coming, kept coming every game.
"It seemed like their starters were fresh."
Bulls 93, Hawks 73
CHICAGO (93): Deng 6-14 1-2 13, Boozer 10-16 3-3 23, Noah 5-7 1-1 11, Rose 8-14 2-3 19, Bogans 1-3 0-0 3, Asik 2-3 1-1 5, Brewer 1-3 0-0 2, Korver 3-7 0-0 7, Watson 0-3 0-0 0, Gibson 5-7 0-0 10. Totals 41-77 8-10 93.
ATLANTA (73): Smith 7-15 4-7 18, Horford 2-10 3-4 7, Collins 2-2 0-0 4, Teague 2-6 0-0 4, Johnson 7-18 4-4 19, Crawford 2-10 4-4 8, Pachulia 0-2 1-2 1, Williams 0-3 0-0 0, Armstrong 1-1 1-2 3, Sy 2-3 1-2 5, Powell 1-1 0-0 2, Wilkins 1-3 0-0 2. Totals 27-74 18-25 73.
Chicago 27 18 25 23— 93
Atlanta 17 18 18 20— 73
3-Point Goals—Chicago 3-13 (Bogans 1-3, Korver 1-3, Rose 1-4, Deng 0-3), Atlanta 1-11 (Johnson 1-4, Wilkins 0-1, Smith 0-3, Crawford 0-3). Fouled Out—None. Rebounds—Chicago 42 (Boozer 10), Atlanta 50 (Pachulia 13). Assists—Chicago 34 (Rose 12), Atlanta 14 (Johnson 4). Total Fouls—Chicago 22, Atlanta 12. A—19,378 (18,729).
Memphis finds itself in unfamiliar position
MEMPHIS — The Grizzlies couldn't be more upset — at themselves.
All of their anger is pointed at their missed shots and lackluster play that has them playing from behind for the first time this postseason. And coach Lionel Hollins is curious to see how they react after Wednesday's 99-72 loss put the Thunder up 3-2 in the West semifinals.
"(Hollins) says this is where we find out who we are," guard Mike Conley said of tonight's Game 6. "Find out the kind of people we are. The kind of players we are. You don't know until your back is against the wall and everything is up for grabs."
The Thunder is a win away from its first West final since 1996, when it played in Seattle.
"The close-out game … is the hardest game to play because they're going to give everything they have and their crowd is going to get behind them," Oklahoma City coach Scott Brooks said. "And we just have to really be able to maintain our composure."
Celtics coach: The Celtics said they are working on a multiyear deal with Doc Rivers, whose contract expires after this season. "Nothing is imminent," team spokesman Jeff Twiss said. "But there has been progress made."
Lakers coach: The Lakers are interested in making Rick Adelman Phil Jackson's replacement, ESPN.com reported. Adelman was fired as Rockets coach last month and also has coached the Blazers and Kings. Lakers assistant Brian Shaw has been publicly endorsed by star Kobe Bryant.