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The professional basketball playoffs have kicked off to continue the unconventional 2020 season after months of delays, but now the NBA has officially delayed more games. Following the decision by the Milwaukee Bucks to boycott the August 26 game against the Orlando Magic to protest the shooting of Jacob Blake in Kenosha, Wisconsin, the NBA decided to postpone all the games scheduled for the day. The NBA released a statement, saying:
The NBA and the NBPA today announced that in light of the Milwaukee Bucks’ decision to not take the floor today for Game 5 against the Orlando Magic, today’s three games – MIL-ORL, HOU-OKC and LAL-POR have been postponed. Game 5 of each series will be rescheduled.
The statement from the NBA (via Twitter) reports that three games scheduled for August 26 won't happen as scheduled, but that doesn't mean the playoff series will be cut short. The three games that have been postponed are the Milwaukee Bucks vs. Orlando Magic, the Houston Rockets vs. the Oklahoma City Thunder, and the Los Angeles Lakers vs. the Portland Trail Blazers. All six teams would have been playing Game 5 of their respective playoff series.
After the initial news that the Bucks were boycotting the August 26 game, reports began to circulate that more teams would boycott their games. The NBA's first official comment on the situation was the announcement of the postponements and intended rescheduling.
The Bucks reportedly refused to leave their locker room before the game was set to begin at 4 p.m. ET, although some players had worked out beforehand. The only people who took the floor were the Orlando Magic players and the referees. The Magic players subsequently left the court before the scheduled tipoff and returned to their locker room.
NBA superstar LeBron James, who currently plays for the Los Angeles Lakers, tweeted seemingly in support of the boycott before the official news broke that his team wouldn't be playing either:
Although the only games that have been officially postponed at the time of writing are the Game 5s scheduled for August 26, ESPN states that the players of the Boston Celtics and Toronto Raptors were considering boycotting their Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals that is scheduled for August 27.
ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski further cites sources stating that "Every NBA player is invited to join the meeting in The Bubble at 8 PM to discuss how they'll proceed from today's boycotts," referring to the isolation zone, or "Bubble," created to protect players from COVID-19. Additionally, the official Twitter account for NBA referees tweeted in support of the boycotts:
No details are currently available about any further boycotts. The next round of games are scheduled for August 27, with the Denver Nuggets vs. the Utah Jazz, the Los Angeles Clippers vs. the Dallas Mavericks, and (as mentioned above) the Boston Celtics vs. the Toronto Raptors. For now, only time will tell if further boycotts happen and when the NBA will reschedule the postponed games that had been scheduled for August 26.
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