K.C. Johnson

NBA, NBPA announce zero positive COVID-19 tests from inside Disney bubble

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USA Today

NBA, NBPA announce zero positive COVID-19 tests from inside Disney bubble

In the first round of testing announced since the NBA began playing official restart games on July 30, there's more good news.

Of the 343 players tested for COVID-19 since the last results were announced on July 29, there remains zero positive tests. This is the third round of testing results made public in a joint statement from the NBA and NBPA, whose strict safety protocols appear to be working. Teams have now been in the so-called "bubble" on the Disney World campus outside Florida for close to a month.

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The statement reiterated that if one positive test occurs, that player will be isolated until he meets all rules established by the two parties to resume play. The 22 teams on the Disney campus traveled with limited parties of 35 people. Players undergo daily testing.

The season is scheduled to conclude in October with the NBA Finals. Commissioner Adam Silver and Michele Roberts, executive director of the players association, long made it clear they badly wanted to crown a 2019-20 champion, even when Silver paused the league in mid-March after Rudy Gobert posted the first positive test. The league and NBPA have drawn rave reviews from around the sporting world for the execution of their plan to this point.

 

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Ex-Bulls Cameron Payne, Timothé Luwawu-Cabarrot stand out in NBA restart action

Ex-Bulls Cameron Payne, Timothé Luwawu-Cabarrot stand out in NBA restart action

If somebody pregame had said an ex-Bull would score 26 points in Tuesday’s Milwaukee Bucks-Brooklyn Nets game, Timothé Luwawu-Cabarrot probably wouldn’t have been the first bet of many.

Heck, he might have been fourth of four.

Jamal Crawford, making his Nets debut (and in doing so, becoming the eighth player in NBA history to play a game in 20 different seasons), is a born scorer, coming off a 51-point outing to cap last season. Certainly, Bucks like Robin Lopez or Kyle Korver, aging veterans or not, would have drawn consideration.

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But it was Luwawu-Cabarrot’s time to shine. He posted his career high in an unexpected victory over the Bucks, even if Milwaukee sat Giannis Antetokounmpo down the stretch and played mostly reserves.

The performance contributed to an unlikely day for ex-Bulls that also featured Cameron Payne continuing his resurgence with 12 points, three assists and zero turnovers as the Phoenix Suns used a Devin Booker buzzer-beater to edge out the Los Angeles Clippers and improve to 3-0 in the restart.

Yes, that Cameron Payne.

More often than not a punch line during his Bulls stint, Payne at various points stripped Kawhi Leonard in the open court and drew praise from analyst Chauncey Billups on the game broadcast. He's now averaging 10.3 points as a key reserve for a Suns team trying to force its way into the Western Conference playoff picture.

“There’s no way he could have known two months ago he’d be in this situation,” Suns coach Monty Williams said during his postgame media availability via Zoom. “He’s a big part of that second unit.”

That’s because Payne was out of the league two months ago, signed as a free agent after stints in China and the G League this season. Williams served as an assistant coach with the Thunder when Payne played there before getting traded to the Bulls. He lauded Payne's perseverance.

And Payne returned the favor.

“He told me to push the pace, bring a lot of energy, be solid defensively and try my best to be consistent. He wants me to keep my turnovers down and just be myself,” Payne said in a Zoom interview. “I really appreciate him. He talks to me a lot. It’s huge coming from him. I just want to say thank you for him.”

Payne also had high praise for the Texas Legends staff, who he said allowed him to “find his mojo” after he left China to play for them in the G League. That overseas stint was another wakeup call in a young career filled with them for a player drafted just one pick behind Booker in the 2015 draft.

“When I had to go (to China), it was kind of like, ‘Man, I’m over here,’” said Payne, who turns 26 on Saturday. “This opportunity means a lot. I kind of feel like this may be a last opportunity, so I have to make the most of it and really show guys that I should be a part of this league. Not being in the NBA is what drove me. I’m trying to do whatever I can, fight my way, claw my way to get back in.”

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Bulls’ Top 10 Power Forwards in franchise history

Bulls’ Top 10 Power Forwards in franchise history

NBC Sports Chicago is counting down the top 10 Bulls at each position.

We've hit the point guards, shooting guards and small forwards. This week, the power forwards are up.

And for the first time in this mental exercise: a bit of mystery! Yes, the No. 1 spots at point guard, shooting guard and small forward were a tad obvious. No one at any of those positions in franchise history matched Derrick Rose, Michael Jordan or Scottie Pippen, respectively.

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But power forward is a bit murkier. The starters at the four-spot during each of the Bulls' three-peats loom in Horace Grant and Dennis Rodman. Chet Walker's Hall-of-Fame pedigree place him firmly in the thick of things at the top. Further down the ranks, fan favorites (Taj Gibson) and other pioneers (Bob Boozer), among others, warrant mention.

So, how did this week's edition shake out? Read on...

Bulls’ Top 10 Power Forwards in franchise history

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