Taj Gibson had 11 points -- all in the fourth quarter. Rose also scored 11 in the fourth, and the Bulls pounded the Hawks 26-15 in the period.
"Taj, man, he just doesn't know how good he is right now," Rose said. "Still young, still trying to learn the game, but he came in and did what he's supposed to do."
Game 6 is Thursday in Atlanta, and Chicago is one win from its first conference finals appearance since 1998, when Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen wrapped up their second championship three-peat.
"Play defense," Rose said of what the Bulls need to do in Game 6. "That's our whole game plan is playing defense. Our offense will be there, but if we continue to help each other, rebound the ball and run, I think that we should be in good shape."
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.
That was enough to offset another strong performance by Atlanta's Jeff Teague. Filling in for the injured Kirk Hinrich, he scored 21 points.
Josh Smith scored 16 points for the Hawks, while Joe Johnson had 15 and Al Horford added 12 points and 10 rebounds.
It hasn't been an easy postseason for the Bulls after they stormed to a league-leading 62 wins. They got pushed by Indiana in the first round and are getting all they can handle from the Hawks, yet they are in a good position thanks to a strong fourth quarter.
"Just playing together," Rose said of Chicago's fourth-quarter defense. "Making sure there's help-side defense. Making everything tough on them, and some of the people that came off the bench, they played tremendous for us."
The Bulls led by as many as 15 points in the first quarter but trailed 70-69 early in the fourth when they went on a 9-0 run.
Rose started it when he drove to his left for a layup, fed Gibson a no-look pass in transition for a three-point play and added a layup that made it 78-70.
Then, midway through the fourth, he drove for a three-point play that made it 85-76. Fans were screeching "MVP! MVP!" as he buried the free throw, and after Atlanta pulled within six, Chicago reeled off eight in a row to make it 93-79.