Nets Pound Bulls 97-85, Stop 8-Game Slide
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CHICAGO (AP) — Deron Williams scored 29 points, Kris Humphries had 24 points and 18 rebounds, and the New Jersey Nets beat the Chicago Bulls 97-85 Saturday to snap an eight-game losing streak.
Chicago’s Derrick Rose missed his fifth straight game because of back pain, and the Nets took advantage, jumping out to a 22-3 lead while rolling to their first victory since Feb. 1.
The lopsided win wasn’t the only good news for New Jersey. Coach Avery Johnson said center Brook Lopez will start Sunday against Milwaukee after being sidelined all season by a broken right foot, a big boost for a team that began the day last in the Atlantic Division.
Lopez was injured in the preseason and the Nets have floundered all year, but they took control right from the start in a surprisingly easy victory over Chicago.
With Rose sidelined, Williams had his way. He scored 21 points in the first half and hit five 3-pointers in the game. He also had eight assists.
Humphries narrowly missed season-highs for points (25) and rebounds (19), while MarShon Brooks added 19 points.
The Bulls had won seven of eight, but the way they were rushing shots and slacking off on defense, they never had a chance. For once, they looked like a team that was missing its star.
Rose remained day to day and the Bulls simply seemed lost.
They shot just over 39 percent, hitting 3 of 13 3-pointers. Things were no better at the foul line, with the Bulls going 16 of 27.
Carlos Boozer and journeyman Mike James each scored 16 points, with Luol Deng and Taj Gibson adding 14 apiece.
Joakim Noah was a non-factor, going scoreless and grabbing six rebounds.
Williams hit three 3s as the Nets jumped out to their big lead early and ended the half with a flurry to make it 59-45.
Deng had just hit a 3 to pull Chicago within seven when Williams answered with two free throws, a 3-pointer and two more foul shots to go up 14. The Nets added to their lead early in the third, Humphries’ rebound-dunk midway through the quarter boosting New Jersey’s lead to 67-48.
NOTES: Johnson said Lopez went through an “extensive” workout Friday and responded well. The plan is for Lopez to sit out Monday’s game against New York and play Wednesday against Orlando. … The Bulls are 7-3 without Rose. He has been limited by toe and back problems at times.
© 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.