- Nick Friedell, ESPN Staff Writer
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CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Derrick Rose knew it.
There was never a doubt in his mind that the Bulls were going to the playoffs. Even when the chances of a playoff berth looked the bleakest.
"We're still going to make it," Rose told ESPNChicago.com on March 30, with his Bulls trailing the Toronto Raptors by one game for the final playoff berth in the Eastern Conference. "In my mind, we'll be making the eighth spot. We'll be playing LeBron. Playing Cleveland.
"The closer we get, the [more] I'm going to think that. We can't walk around acting like we're not going to make it because that's when things turn on you. Our biggest goal is to make the playoffs, and we're going to make it."
The ironic thing about his statements were that they came on the day when the Bulls organization probably hit its lowest point of the season. They came just hours before Bulls coach Vinny Del Negro and executive vice president John Paxson reportedly got into a heated physical exchange about Joakim Noah's minutes after the Bulls lost to the Phoenix Suns.
Rose and company pushed all of that aside and accomplished their goal on Wednesday night by beating the Charlotte Bobcats 98-89 and clinching their second straight playoff berth.
Rose revealed why he remained so confident during the most trying of times.
"Actually a book," he said in the raucous postgame locker room on Wednesday night. "'The Secret.'"
"Whatever you speak out will come to life. My confidence was high. Everybody on the team's confidence was high. We had some times to practice and walk through stuff. Walk through the other team's stuff. And we just prepared ourselves for almost everything."
While Rose was on one side of the room discussing "The Secret," Brad Miller and Joakim Noah were on the other side celebrating in their own way. The pair was icing their aching bodies while sipping on some celebratory Bud Lights.
"To be in this position, it means a lot to me," Noah said. "It means a lot to our team. You know what I love about this team? Even when times were hard, we went on that 10-game losing streak, I feel like we never really let down. We always believed in each other. And to be in this position right now is a great feeling.
"And I feel like it's very deserving. Anybody who sees the Chi-town Bulls, I just want them to say, 'They play their [butts] off.' And I think that's what we've been doing the last few games."
Miller tried to sum up this season in a different way. "It's crazy," the grizzled veteran said. "The biggest roller coaster season I've ever been on.
"We come back off a big West Coast trip [in January] winning five of seven. Everybody's like 'Oh my, God,' climbing up the seedings -- and then it's like this injury … I don't know how we sustained 10 [losses] in a row. Honestly, if you had told us we were going to lose 10 in a row in March basically and still make it, and get [to] .500, it shows a lot of the will of some of these guys."
Nick Friedell covers the Bulls for ESPNChicago.com.
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