Basketball

Giannis Antetokounmpo: Jacob Blake's dad touched by NBA's movement

The Milwaukee Bucks powered into the second round of the NBA play-offs yesterday morning (Singapore time), three days after their refusal to take to the court in the wake of a police shooting in Wisconsin brought the post-season to a halt.

Reigning NBA Most Valuable Player Giannis Antetokounmpo scored 28 points and grabbed 17 rebounds and the Bucks led by as many as 21 on the way to a 118-104 victory over the Orlando Magic.

Milwaukee won the best-of-seven Eastern Conference series 4-1 to set up a second-round clash with the Miami Heat, who swept the Indiana Pacers 4-0.

Just days earlier, the Bucks were prepared to forfeit Game 5 against the Magic last Wednesday after the shooting of Jacob Blake in Kenosha, Wisconsin.

But the Magic, and eventually the rest of the teams remaining in the bubble, backed their action, to launch hours of discussion among players, coaches and league officials on how they could unite to combat racial injustice and police brutality.

The Bucks players were able to contact Blake's family, said Antetokounmpo, who added: "We came together as a team, went in a circle, talked to his dad and his dad was tearing up telling us how powerful what we did on that day was for him and his family, and that's bigger than basketball to me."

With plans in place for concrete action to promote voting and civic engagement, and support police and criminal justice reform legislation, the season resumed.

In the Western Conference, the LA Lakers beat the Portland Trail Blazers 131-122 on the back of 43 points from Anthony Davis to win the series 4-1. - AFP

Basketball