Others receiving votes: Memphis 86, Virginia Tech 85, Boise State 68, Arizona State 66, Miami (FL) 42, Louisville 32, Appalachian State 26, Washington 21, Kentucky 20, Indiana 19, Baylor 15, California 11, TCU 9, Virginia 7, Navy 6, Florida State 6, SMU 3, Mississippi State 3, Air Force 3, Northwestern 1, UAB 1
The lab used by the NFL for COVID-19 tests said Monday that an isolated contamination caused 77 “most likely false positive results.”
In a statement, BioReference Laboratories said the test results on Saturday were contaminated during preparation at its lab in New Jersey. Eleven clubs were affected, and the tests were reexamined and found to be false positives.
“The NFL immediately took necessary actions to ensure the safety of the players and personnel,” said Dr. Jon R. Cohen, executive chairman of BioReference, which does all COVID-19 testing for the 32 NFL teams in five labs across the country. “Re-agents, analyzers and staff were all ruled out as possible causes and subsequent testing has indicated that the issue has been resolved. All individuals impacted have been confirmed negative and informed.”
Among teams reporting false positives, the Minnesota Vikings said they had 12, the New York Jets 10 and the Chicago Bears nine. The entire episode puts the NFL and its testing procedures through BioReference in a precarious position with the opening game kicking off on Sept. 10.
There are five labs nationwide that service the 32 teams, with only the New Jersey facility having the false positives this weekend. Anyone testing positive for COVID-19 – even a false positive upon a retest – is required to have two more negative tests before being cleared to return.
The New York Giants said Monday that two staff members whose test results initially came back as false positives were back at work. Both were given a point of care test Sunday morning, the results of which were known within the hour, and were administered the standard test they undergo on a daily basis, the results of which were known Sunday night. Both results were negative.
Two other Giants staffers were deemed through contact tracing to have been in close contact for more than 15 minutes with their peers who had the false positives. They also returned to work Monday.
The Miami Dolphins will allow up to 13,000 socially distancing fans to attend their home opener against the Buffalo Bills on Sept. 20, a decision that divided political leaders and upset the visiting coach.
The same plan will be followed for the University of Miami’s home opener against UAB at the Dolphins’ stadium on Sept. 10.
Crowd size will be about 20% of the stadium’s 65,326-seat capacity, with the limitation imposed because of the coronavirus pandemic. Groups of spectators will be spaced 6 feet apart.
Fifteen of the NFL’s 32 teams have ruled out spectators to start the season. The Dolphins are one of at least eight teams hoping to have a limited number of spectators, and many teams haven’t announced plans.
At a news conference, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Gimenez applauded the Dolphins’ plan and safety upgrades.
“They’re not going to make a lot of money this season,” DeSantis said. “Putting all the money they did into this to give fans the ability to watch some football in person, I think, means a lot.
“Look, we’ve been watching sports on TV. But when you watch the NBA with an empty arena, or Major League Baseball with an empty stadium, it’s just not quite the same. I know this isn’t going to be people falling from the rafters here, but I think it is something that will give people a little bit of hope.”
DeSantis said the state’s virus numbers are trending in an encouraging direction. But South Florida remains a hot spot, and not all reaction to the Dolphins’ plan was favorable.
Clemson is the preseason No. 1 in The Associated Press Top 25, a poll featuring nine Big Ten and Pac-12 teams that gives a glimpse at what has already been taken by the pandemic from an uncertain college football season.
Ohio State (1,504 points) was a close No. 2 behind Trevor Lawrence and Clemson (1,520), which starts atop the rankings for the second straight season. The Tigers beat the Buckeyes in a thrilling College Football Playoff semifinal last season.
Alabama is No. 3, Southeastern Conference rival Georgia is No. 4 and defending Big 12 champion Oklahoma is No. 5. Defending national champion LSU is No. 6.
The 85th edition of the AP rankings will be like none before.
When the season starts – if the season starts – the Buckeyes and 53 other Bowl Subdivision teams will no longer be eligible for inclusion in the Top 25 because they have postponed their seasons to the spring.
The Big Ten, where Ohio State and No. 7 Penn State play, and the Pac-12, home to No. 9 Oregon, canceled their fall sports seasosn because of concerns about the coronavirus. The Mid-American and Mountain West conferences have also said they will try to play spring football.
The SEC, Atlantic Coast Conference, Big 12, American Athletic, Conference USA and Sun Belt are forging ahead with fall sports, with changes: The three remaining Power Five conferences, the SEC, ACC, and Big 12, have eliminated all or most nonconference games and delayed the start of their seasons from one to three weeks.
Erased from the college football schedule this year were a host of tantalizing nonconference matchups: Ohio State at No. 9 Oregon; No. 10 Notre Dame vs. No. 12 Wisconsin at Lambeau field in Green Bay; No. 14 Texas at LSU; No. 17 Southern California vs Alabama in Arlington, Texas; No. 11 Auburn vs. No. 18 North Carolina in Atlanta.
For now, big conference games such as Ohio State-Michigan and Washington-Washington State could still be made up in the spring.
All Division I teams were eligible for the preseason AP Top 25, but after the season starts, only teams scheduled to play in the fall are eligible. That leaves 76 FBS teams from which to choose.
If a spring season is played, the AP will consider doing rankings for those teams, too.
LeBron James took note when the Los Angeles Lakers built an early 24-8 lead over the Trail Blazers on Kobe Bryant Day.
“OK, he’s here in the building,” James said he thought in the moment, when the two numbers that Bryant wore during his career appeared on the scoreboard.
The Los Angeles Lakers dominated Portland the rest of the way Monday night, winning 135-115 to take a 3-1 advantage in their playoff series.
James had 30 points and 10 assists in 28 minutes before heading to the bench late in the third quarter. The Lakers led by as many as 38 points for their third straight win in the opening-round series, the team’s first playoff appearance since 2013.
Dennis Schroder scored a career playoff-high 30 points, and the Oklahoma City Thunder rallied to beat the Houston Rockets 117-114 on Monday and even the first-round Western Conference playoff series at two wins apiece.
Oklahoma City trailed by 15 points in the third quarter and was down a point heading into the fourth. But the Thunder led the league during the regular season with 17 wins after trailing heading into the final quarter. And they trailed going into the fourth on Saturday before winning in overtime.
“I always believe we can turn it around,” Schroder said. “Just bring a little bit of energy, get stops as a team, take the good shots and we’ll be in good shape. We’ve been doing it all season.”
Chris Paul scored 26 points and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander added 18 points and 12 rebounds for the Thunder, who won despite allowing 23 3-pointers.
James Harden had 32 points, 15 assists and eight rebounds for Houston. Eric Gordon scored 23 points and Danuel House Jr. added 21 for the Rockets.
The Thunder shot 49% from the field.
Bam Adebayo got his first playoff series win, but the big man wasn’t planning on celebrating for too long.
He planned to give himself about 2 1/2 hours to enjoy the Miami Heat’s victory over the Indiana Pacers before turning his attention to the Eastern Conference semifinals and a possible date with the top-seeded Milwaukee Bucks.
“One hundred percent I think we can get to another gear,” Adebayo said. “And that’s everybody here. This next series might be different. We might need to have different schemes.”
Goran Dragic scored 23 points, Adebayo had 14 points and 19 rebounds and the fifth-seeded Heat completed a first-round sweep, beating the Pacers 99-87 on Monday night. Tyler Herro had 16 points for the Heat, who made it out of the first round for the first time since 2016.
Victor Oladipo had 25 points and Myles Turner added 22 points and 14 rebounds for the Pacers, who have been bounced in the first round of the playoffs in five straight seasons.
Giannis Antetokounmpo offered some advice to teammate Khris Middleton before the fourth quarter of Monday’s playoff game against the Orlando Magic: “Shoot until your arms fall off.”
Middleton took the advice to heart.
Antetokounmpo had 31 points, 15 rebounds and eight assists and Middleton finally came alive with a huge fourth quarter as the Bucks beat the Magic 121-106 to take a 3-1 lead in the first-round series.
Middleton scored 18 of his 21 points in the final quarter and finished with 10 rebounds after being held to one field goal in the first three quarters on 1-of-9 shooting.
“At times I am too unselfish, so I have to force the issue,” Middleton said.
Bucks coach Mike Budenholzer said it was “just a matter of time” before Middleton had a breakout game.
If the Bucks hope to win their first NBA title since 1971 they’re going to need Middleton to be a consistent scorer and take some of the pressure off Antetokounmpo.
The top-seeded Bucks led by three entering the fourth quarter before Middleton scored 11 points during an 18-2 run on three 3-pointers and a mid-range jumper off an inbouds play to help the Bucks build a 102-83 lead.
“Giannis told just to me be aggressive and that is what I tried to do,” Middleton said.
Middleton averaged just 11 points per game in the first three playoff games on 12-of-37 shooting.
Patient and positive, Brett Brown was the perfect coach for the Philadelphia 76ers when they set up a long-term home in the NBA basement.
They’ll be looking for someone else now that they want to be on top.
The 76ers fired coach Brown on Monday, a day after his seventh season ended in a first-round postseason sweep.
The 76ers were 43-30 this season and had woefully underachieved in a year when they were expected to be serious contenders in the Eastern Conference.
After the sixth-seeded Sixers were swept by the Boston Celtics, the move was expected.
“I have a tremendous level of respect for Brett both personally and professionally and appreciate all he’s done for the 76ers organization and the city of Philadelphia,” general manager Elton Brand said in a statement. “He did many positive things during his time here, developing young talent and helping position our team for three straight postseason appearances. Unfortunately, we fell well short of our goals this year and I believe it is best to go in a new direction.”
Brown finished 221-344, though his record was never going to be pretty because the Sixers weren’t trying to win when he was hired.
From a goal off the chest to another that may have just crossed the line – depending who’s asked – the Dallas Stars were getting the big bounces and breaks.
That’s what it takes this time of year.
Alexander Radulov scored on a deflection off his upper chest as part of a four-goal second period and the Dallas Stars beat the Colorado Avalanche 5-2 on Monday night to take a 2-0 lead in the second-round series.
Trailing 2-0 in the second period, Joe Pavelski and Radek Faksa revitalized the Stars by scoring in a 43-second span during a 5-on-3 advantage.
Dallas was just getting started. Radulov knocked in the go-ahead goal when a shot bounced off a stick, into his chest and over Colorado goaltender Pavel Francouz. Esa Lindell then added another with 46 seconds remaining in the second when he knocked in a rebound to make it 4-2.
Now that one the Avalanche wouldn’t mind a little more explanation. The officials took a look to make sure the puck wasn’t frozen by Francouz before Lindell poked it in – or if it even went in at all. The call on the ice was confirmed.
The New York Islanders came out hot to begin their second-round playoff series against Philadelphia, creating numerous good chances and scoring an early goal.
Semyon Varlamov did the rest.
Varlamov stopped 29 shots for his second straight shutout, Andy Greene scored his first playoff goal in a decade and the Islanders opened the series with a 4-0 win over the Flyers Monday night.
“He’s playing fantastic,” Greene said of the goaltender. “He’s making the hard saves look easy and in our breakdowns, we know he’s there for us.”
The Islanders withstood a second-period flurry in their first playoff meeting with the rival Flyers since 1987 and closed it out with three goals in the third.
The 37-year-old Greene got it started, becoming the 10th player in NHL history to go at least 10 years between playoff goals.
Varlamov was sharp all night, stretching his scoreless streak to 136 minutes, 20 seconds to become the first Islanders goalie with consecutive playoff shutouts. He has four career playoff shutouts.
Jean-Gabriel Pageau and Anders Lee each scored in the third period, and Devon Toews closed it out with an empty-net goal.
Just about the only poor shot Phil Mickelson hit in his PGA Tour Champions debut was a wayward iron off the tee.
He still turned it into a birdie.
It was one of five straight on the back nine Monday for the five-time major champion, who decided to make his over-50 debut this week after missing the cut at The Northern Trust and getting eliminated from the PGA Tour’s FedEx Cup playoffs.
Mickelson finished with 11 birdies and shot a 10-under 61 to take a one-shot lead over David McKenzie.
“It’s a lot of fun. It’s a fun environment. And it’s fun to see a lot of the guys I grew up watching, and played with them for a number of years, and played a bunch of Ryder Cups and Presidents Cups with a lot of of guys out here,” Mickelson said. “I was a little nervous, too, because I wanted to come out and play well. I was playing really well.”
K.J. Choi, making his second start on the PGA Tour Champions, was joined in a group at 7 under by Rocco Mediate, Rod Pampling and Tim Petrovic. Ernie Els, Bernhard Langer and Vijay Singh were among those another shot back.
“We have a lot of golf left,” said Mickelson, who hit all but one green in regulation. “A lot of players went really low. The quality of golf out here is really impressive.”