CHICAGO, IL - FEBRUARY 18: C.J. Watson #7 of the Chicago Bulls gets his hand on the ball as Kris Humphries #43 of the New Jersey Nets grabs a rebound at the United Center on February 18, 2012 in Chicago, Illinois. The Nets defeated the Bulls 97-85. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

Bulls Struggle In Home Loss To New Jersey

The Bulls fell down early and could come back late with PG Derrick Rose still sidelined.

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NBA Standings 2012: Bulls Losing Grip On Best Record In East

With the Chicago Bulls' dreadful 97-85 loss to the New Jersey Nets on Saturday, Tom Thibodeau's crew lost their slim lead on the Miami Heat for the best record in the Eastern Conference. The two teams currently sit tied atop the conference, with Chicago at 25-8 and Miami at 24-7, but that all will change by Sunday night. The Heat will take on the Orlando Magic on Sunday afternoon, and depending on the outcome they will either vault over the Bulls or slide back to the second slot.

As for the Central Division, the Bulls still hold a healthy 5.5 game lead on the Indiana Pacers, with the Milwaukee Bucks and Cleveland Cavaliers tied for third at 11.5 games back. But, of course, the regular season will be measured by whether or not the Bulls can get home court throughout the playoffs for the second season in a row.

For updates, stay tuned to SB Nation Chicago. For more on the Chicago Bulls, drop SB Nation's Chicago Bulls blog, Blog a Bull, or check out the SB Nation NBA news hub for more breaking news and analysis from around the league.

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Bulls Vs. Nets Score Update: Chicago Slumps To Surprising Defeat

Having won two straight games, and in the midst of a six-game homestand, few people would have expected the Chicago Bulls to come out so flat against the New Jersey Nets. However, the Bulls trailed by double-digits in the first quarter and were never able to rally in the 97-85 loss.

Carlos Boozer delivered a strong performance in the paint, scoring 16 points and pulling down nine rebounds. However, Joakim Noah was nearly invisible on the court, as he was held scoreless and grabbed only six boards in the loss. In the absence of Derrick Rose, Mike James came off the bench to score 16 points and dish out a team-high seven assists before fouling out.

Despite struggling with his shot, Deron Williams made a big impact on the game. Williams scored a game-high 28 points and dished out a game-high eight assists to lead New Jersey to the impressive win. Kris Humphries completely dominated the paint, scoring 24 points on 10/15 shooting and pulling down a game-high 18 rebounds for the double-double. Marshon Brooks chipped in 19 points for the Nets.

For updates, stay tuned to SB Nation Chicago. For more on the Chicago Bulls, drop SB Nation's Chicago Bulls blog, Blog a Bull, or check out the SB Nation NBA news hub for more breaking news and analysis from around the league.

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Bulls Vs. Nets Score Update: Chicago Trails After Lethargic First Half Performance

With Derrick Rise sidelined once again by his nagging back injury, the Chicago Bulls had no answer for Deron Williams and the New Jersey Nets in the opening half, as they trail 59-45.

Although he struggled a bit with his shot in the opening half, Williams still managed to score a team-high 21 points and dish out seven assists in 22 minutes of action. Williams shot just 6/15 from the field, but the All-Star guard did hit all four of his three-point attempts. Kris Humphries was active in the paint for the Nets, scoring 12 points and grabbing nine rebounds.

Chicago struggled mightily on the offensive end, shooting just 35.6% from the field as a team. C.J. Watson led the way with eight points, while Mike James came off the bench to score five points and dish out five assists. Joakim Noah struggled to make any impact, as he was held scoreless and only snatched two rebounds.

For updates, stay tuned to SB Nation Chicago. For more on the Chicago Bulls, drop SB Nation's Chicago Bulls blog, Blog a Bull, or check out the SB Nation NBA news hub for more breaking news and analysis from around the league.

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Bulls Vs. Nets: Derrick Rose Game-Time Decision, Richard Hamilton Out

The Bulls may be without PG Derrick Rose again as they take on the New Jersey Nets on Saturday night.

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