NBA playoff games called off amid player protest

LAKE BUENA VISTA, FLORIDA (AP) – All three NBA playoff games scheduled for Wednesday have been postponed, with players around the league choosing to boycott in their strongest statement yet against racial injustice.

Called off: Games between Milwaukee and Orlando, Houston and Oklahoma City and the Los Angeles Lakers and Portland. The NBA said all three games would be rescheduled, yet did not say when.

The dramatic series of moves began when the Bucks — the NBA’s team from Wisconsin, a state rocked in recent days by the shooting by police officers of Jacob Blake, a Black man — didn’t take the floor for their playoff game against the Magic. The teams were set to begin Game 5 of their series shortly after 4 p.m., with the Bucks needing a win to advance to the second round.

“Some things are bigger than basketball,” Bucks senior vice president Alex Lasry tweeted. “The stand taken today by the players and (the organization) shows that we’re fed up. Enough is enough. Change needs to happen. I’m incredibly proud of our guys and we stand 100% behind our players ready to assist and bring about real change.”

There are three other playoff games scheduled Thursday. It was unclear if they would be affected. Several NBA players, including LeBron James, tweeted out messages demanding change and the Boston Celtics’ official Twitter account did the same.

Mullens native Mike D’Antoni is the head coach for the Houston Rockets. They were scheduled to play Game 5 of their first-round matchup with Oklahoma City Wednesday, with the series tied 2-2.