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Celtics-Raptors game Thursday postponed; NBA hopes to resume playoffs Friday or Saturday

The NBA won't play on Thursday after a series of protests prompted a postponement.
The NBA won't play on Thursday after a series of protests prompted a postponement.Pool/Getty



The Celtics’ playoff game against the Raptors on Thursday night was postponed as the players’ protest against police brutality and systemic racism continued. But the NBA announced it hopes to resume games on Friday or Saturday.

A group of NBA players and team governors representing the 13 teams in Orlando were expected to join representatives from the National Basketball Players Association and league officials to determine the next steps. In a text message Thursday, Celtics co-owner Wyc Grousbeck declined to comment.

The Celtics were scheduled to play the Raptors in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference semifinals on Thursday night.

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On Tuesday, Raptors players were the first to suggest the possibility of sitting out a playoff game in response to the shooting of Jacob Blake by police in Wisconsin. Then on Wednesday, the Bucks announced they would not play Game 5 of their first-round series against the Magic.

Soon after, there was a domino effect, with the Lakers-Trail Blazers and Thunder-Rockets games also being postponed before the reverberations were felt throughout the sports world, with baseball games and tennis tournaments also being halted.

NBA players met in Orlando Thursday night. The Globe was told Celtics forward Jaylen Brown played an active role in the all-NBA meeting. He reportedly challenged players, saying that they’d be wasting their time if they opt to end the season but don’t protest or demand justice outside the bubble.

According to multiple reports, the Clippers and Lakers were in favor of halting the season while most others were in favor of playing. But that tone has since shifted, and the games are expected to resume this weekend.

When plans to restart the season were being crafted this summer, there was some reluctance among players because of the possibility that basketball could slow the momentum of the social justice movement that was sparked by the death of George Floyd.

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Players agreed that they would find ways to use their unique platforms to raise awareness, though, from kneeling during the national anthem to wearing social justice messages on their jerseys.

But when video circulated this week showing a police officer shooting Blake, who is Black, there was a sense that the gestures in Orlando were not enough.




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Adam Himmelsbach can be reached at adam.himmelsbach@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @adamhimmelsbach. Katie McInerney can be reached at katie.mcinerney@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter at @k8tmac.