It's do or die time for Al Horford and the Atlanta Hawks.

The underdogs lost a crucial Game 5 against the top-seeded Chicago Bulls Tuesday night, 95-83. The Bulls lead the Eastern Conference semifinals series, 3-2.

Game 6 is Thursday night in Atlanta.

Horford, the Dominican center, scored 12 points and grabbed 10 rebounds. He had three assists, but also committed four turnovers in his 42 minutes.

Horford stressed the urgency with which the Hawks played – and the desperation required to stay alive in the series.

"We were playing for everything," he said. "We have to regroup again and get ready for Thursday."

Derrick Rose, the NBA's most valuable player, led the Bulls with 33 points. He, too, knows the important of Game 6, and denying the Hawks a shot at forcing a Game 7.

"We can't get tired or bored," Rose said. "We know that going down there, they're going to give us their all. I think we have to come out and play our way — defense first and make things tough on them. We're a good team when we have pace to us."

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, and he was particularly effective down the stretch, attacking the rim.

"He made unbelievable plays. He exploded off the pick and roll," Atlanta's Josh Smith said.

A win Thursday in Atlanta would put the Bulls in the conference finals for the first time since Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen wrapped up their second championship three-peat in 1998. 

Based on reporting by The Associated Press.

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