For One Game, The Bulls Are Actually Exciting

Last time the Bulls played this well, they beat LeBron's Cavs

Tuesday night, the Bulls played as well as they have all season. Can we trust them to do it for more than one game?

That's the question any Bulls fan will have after watching last night's 120-102 win over the Orlando Magic. The Magic are a good team, among the best in the East, and before the trade deadline the Bulls proved themselves to be a marginal playoff team at best. (And really, a marginal playoff team in the East is a bad team in the big scheme of things.)

And yet, there the Bulls were last night, running efficient offensive sets, hitting shots at will, moving the ball efficiently, allowing Derrick Rose to dictate the flow of things. If you had a mental image of a really good Bulls team, that's what they'd look like. It was awesome.

The question now, as above, is whether the Bulls are actually a new team. Did their trades -- acquiring Brad Miller, John Salmons, and Tim Thomas -- really make them that much better? The trio combined for 37 points last night. Is this the difference between a bad Bulls team and a good one?

Yes and no. Yes, the Bulls got better through trades in 2009. All three players are good shooters, and Tim Thomas' ability to stretch defenses at the power forward position, something no pre-deadline Bull could really do, is a huge boon. When Thomas plays hard, he's a great addition. Same goes for Miller and Salmons. Both are good shooters. Miller provides a keen pick-and-pop option for Derrick Rose (who was brilliant in the mid-range game last night) and Salmons is a far more efficient player than the person he replaces, Larry Hughes. (Watching Hughes struggle with New York in his first few games has been a tremendous guilty pleasure.)

Unfortunately, at 56.5 percent, the Bulls shot better than they have all season. That's not the sort of thing that's sustainable. It's more about a one-game bump than anything else.

But for one night, at least, the Bulls proved their trades have, at the very least, not made them worse, and that the players they've acquired can fit quite nicely into their Derrick Rose-oriented scheme. There's a long way to go and more talent to acquire. In the meantime, maybe watching the Bulls won't be so painful after all.

Eamonn Brennan is a writer, editor and blogger hunkered down in Lincoln Park. You can also read him at Yahoo! Sports, FanHouse, MOUTHPIECE Sports Blog, and Inside The Hall, or at his personal site,

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