Bulls

Carter-Williams steals the spotlight from Rose, Bulls

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Carter-Williams steals the spotlight from Rose, Bulls

Through four games Michael Carter-Williams had been the other guard in the first round playoff series between the Bucks and Bulls.

Storylines, both positive and negative, revolved around Derrick Rose's play in his first postseason appearance in more than three years. The former MVP scored 23 points in Game 1, nearly triple-doubled in Game 2, added a season-high 34 points in Game 3 before committing eight costly turnovers in a Game 4 loss. He, the measuring stick for a Bulls team with championship aspirations, garnered the attention. And heading into a Game 5, the spotlight again was on Rose to close the series out at home and set up a date with LeBron James and the Cavaliers.

Instead, it was Carter-Williams who stole the show, earning himself a spot at the postgame podium after handily winning his individual matchup with Rose and helping the Bucks stave off elimination in a 94-88 win in Game 5. Carter-Williams scored 22 points on 10-for-15 shooting, added eight rebounds and nine assists and played stifling defense on Rose and Jimmy Butler in a team-high 38 minutes.

"He looked good, like a veteran point guard," said OJ Mayo. "He really kept his poise, quarterback’d the team, made sure that we understood what we were doing on both ends of the floor. He played like an All-Star point guard tonight."

Carter-Williams was the aggressor from the opening tip, scoring on a layup on the game's first possession, the first of what became a 9-0 run for the Bucks to open the contest. Twice more in the opening frame Carter-Williams attacked Rose and finished inside. It became a trend for the night, the Bucks staying a step ahead of the Bulls' pick-and-roll defense, living in the paint and beating rotations with better ball movement and spacing. All 10 of Carter-Williams' field goal makes came in the paint, with the Bucks scoring nearly half of their 94 points as a team inside.

[RELATED: Bulls still can't close out Bucks at home]

A sprained right ankle forced him to the locker room in the opening minutes of the third quarter but he managed to return at the 2:54 mark of the period and didn't sit the rest of the night. It's when he did his best work, too, scoring eight points and handing out a pair of assists in the final stanza. His most impressive sequence came after the Bulls had used a quick 6-0 run to pull within three points at the 4:45 mark. Carter-Williams calmly cut left, received a pass from Mayo and hoisted a floating bank shot in over Rose to quiet the United Center crowd. The next trip down he blocked Jimmy Butler - one of the eight Bucks blocks in the final 12 minutes - and fed John Henson on a beautiful baseline bounce pass for a layup that pushed the lead back to eight with 3 minutes to play.

"I was just trying to get in the lane and find the open guy," he said after the game. "I was just being patient and that opened up the lane a little bit and I was able to score."

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Carter-Williams' offensive aggressiveness was a welcome sign after he had averaged 12.0 points on 39 percent shooting in the first four games, but he made his mark defensively. Kidd has preached the entire series that the Bucks would be as successful as their defense allowed them to be, and on Monday night it was Carter-Williams leading the charger.

He was credited with three blocks and one steal, but his pressure was felt throughout. Rose shot 5-for-20 and the Bulls committed 13 more turnovers, bringing their five-game total to 89 giveaways. Carter-Williams switched between assignments on Rose and Jimmy Butler (5-for-21), with his 6-foot-6 length giving Kidd options to mix and match between Mayo, Bayless and and Khris Middleton at the other guard position.

It's been a turbulent few months in Milwaukee for Carter-Williams, who was acquired in a three-team deal at the trade deadline that sent All-Star caliber point guard Brandon Knight from the Brew City to Phoenix. The transaction, done with eyes on the future - Knight was a free agent at season's end - was met with scrutiny, and the Bucks struggled most of the way with Carter-Williams at the helm; the Bucks went just 10-15 in games he started after the trade, nearly falling out of the No. 6 spot in the process.

But Carter-Williams has righted the ship and has the defensive-minded Bucks back feeling confident after two straight wins. And while his team's success doesn't hinge on his individual play much like it does for Rose and the Bulls, when that other guard is showing the aggressiveness on both ends of the floor like he did Monday night, the Bucks will be in position to win. The next test is Thursday.

"If that’s what we get form him as a player every night," Henson said, "we’re going to be tough to beat."

NBA unveils logo for NBA All-Star 2020, which will take place in Chicago

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USA TODAY

NBA unveils logo for NBA All-Star 2020, which will take place in Chicago

A year from now, Chicago will be on the NBA's center stage in that they will be hosting the NBA's 2020 All-Star weekend. 

Sunday, Team LeBron took down Team Giannis 178-164 in Charlotte to capture the 2019 NBA All-Star Game crown. Despite next year's game being a year away, the NBA unveiled the logo for the 2020 game, which the Bulls will host at the United Center.

According to the Bulls, the logo "features elements from the iconic Chicago flag including four red six-pointed stars and two horizontal blue stripes. The Chicago Bulls’ signature font and team colors – red and black – are also incorporated into the logo scheme."

During Sunday's game, Bulls legend and Charlotte Hornets chairman Michael Jordan passed off the ceremonial 2020 All-Star Game basketball to Bulls president and COO, Michael Reinsdorf. 

The 2020 NBA All-Star Game will take place on Feb. 16. It will be the 69th edition of the annual exhibition matchup.

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Matt Nagy calls Michael Jordan ‘the greatest athlete to ever play a sport’

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AP

Matt Nagy calls Michael Jordan ‘the greatest athlete to ever play a sport’

The NBA All-Start weekend is here, and you can bet Matt Nagy will keep an eye on the action.

The Bears head coach is a lifelong basketball fan, and he even weighed in on the “greatest of all time” debate between Michael Jordan and LeBron James.

He ranked the top 10 NBA players of his lifetime for the team’s official site, and of course, he put the Chicago legend at the top of his list.

“This is the greatest athlete to ever play a sport,” Nagy said. “When the tongue came out… good luck.”

LeBron still came in second, and Nagy was quite complimentary, calling him the “most underappreciated athlete of all time when it comes to being a complete role model on and off the court.”

Two other Los Angeles Lakers legends were next, with Kobe Bryant at three and Magic Johnson at four in Nagy’s list.

Larry Bird came in fifth, and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar ranked sixth, but Nagy admitted “Kareem would most likely be higher on this list if I wasn’t only 11 years old when he retired.”

Tim Duncan, Allen Iverson, Shaq and Karl Malone rounded out the top 10.