Struggling Nets halt streak, upset Bulls

The New Jersey Nets snapped an eight-game losing streak with a surprisingly easy 97-85 road win over the Central Division-leading Chicago Bulls at the United Center on Saturday.

New Jersey (9-23), taking advantage of the absence of NBA MVP Derrick Rose who missed his fifth straight game due to back pain, opened up a 22-3 lead five minutes into the game and never trailed as they handed the Bulls (25-8) just their second loss at home this season.

Deron Williams led the Nets' offense with 29 points including five three-pointers from nine attempts. Kris Humphries added 24 points and had a game-high 18 rebounds.

Chicago's five starters struggled, combining for just 45 points, led by Carlos Boozer with 16, while Joakim Noah was held without a point in 21 minutes on the court. Reserve Mike James matched Boozer with 16 points for the Bulls.

The Bulls bench cut into the Nets lead in the second quarter to narrow the deficit to as few as seven points before the Nets pushed it back to a 14-point cushion at halftime leading 59-45.

(Reporting by Mike Mouat in Windsor, Ontario; Editing by Larry Fine)