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Jimmy Butler likes Bulls' chances: We'll find ourselves in playoffs

HOUSTON -- After all the ups and downs the Chicago Bulls have endured this season, Jimmy Butler still believes his team will end up in the playoffs.

"I think so," Butler told ESPN.com after Thursday night's win over the Houston Rockets. "You'll never hear me say that we're going to lose. This is my team. This is our team. I like the group of guys that we have. I'm confident that we'll continue to win games and we'll find ourselves in the playoffs."

The Bulls come into Saturday's game against the Detroit Pistons trailing the Indiana Pacers by one game for the eighth and final playoff spot in the East. Butler believes that his team is coming together now in the wake of two straight wins and a team meeting Sunday.

"Just how together we are," Butler said. "We're in this. We want to make these playoffs, that push, and even though it should have happened earlier. It's never too late to make that happen. And I think these guys really bought into it. Every possession, every loose ball and when we're playing like that, man, I think we're hard to beat."

The Bulls were noticeably more excited and energetic after Thursday's win over the Rockets -- in which they overcame a 14-point, second-half deficit -- than they had been after Butler's game winner Tuesday night against the Pacers. At the end of a long season, and with injuries to Derrick Rose (elbow) and Taj Gibson (ribs) looming over everything, the Bulls managed to show more mental toughness than they had in a long time. Rose could see the difference as he watched from the end of the bench in the second half Thursday night.

"Fight," he said. "I think we fought our way back. We didn't hang our head even when they went up. And the guys that came in, they came in and did their jobs. So it was a big win."

The question for the Bulls: Can they maintain the emotion and consistency they have found over the past seven games of the regular season and make good on Butler's prediction?

"I hope so," Bulls head coach Fred Hoiberg said. "I hope this is something we can build off of. We obviously have a big one on Saturday against Detroit. It's going to take a heck of an effort. They're playing great basketball right now. It's a tough matchup with their size and their speed. But hopefully we play well, build off what we did here. You can't be satisfied. There's no time for that right now. Youv'e got to go out and continue to build and get better."