After two days off, and now against the backdrop of a still more organized and action-oriented push for social justice, the Oklahoma City Thunder and the rest of the NBA have chosen to resume the playoffs Saturday inside the Disney bubble in Lake Buena Vista, Florida.
Oklahoma City and Houston, tied 2-2 in their Western Conference quarterfinal series, are scheduled for a 5:30 p.m. tip.
The game will be nationally broadcast by TNT and regionally broadcast by Fox Sports Oklahoma.
Also returning to action Saturday, the Milwaukee Bucks, leading 3-1, continue their series against the Orlando Magic at 2:30 p.m. and the Los Angeles Lakers, up 3-1, continue their series against the Portland Trail Blazers at 8 p.m.
The remaining three series — Boston-Toronto, L.A. Clippers-Dallas, Denver-Utah — resume Sunday.
For the first time in the Thunder-Rockets series, former OKC point guard Russell Westbrook, who’d been out with a strained quadriceps, is expected to play.
Westbrook averaged 27.2 points, 7.9 rebounds and 7 assists during the regular season in support of James Harden, the NBA’s leading scorer.
The Rockets claimed the first two games of the series, followed by two straight Thunder victories, Game 3 coming in overtime.
Speaking to media on Friday, Thunder point guard Chris Paul intimated the players have chosen to return to the court for much the same reason they chose to leave it on Wednesday.
“Our players spoke,” he said. “We spoke and we understand the platform we have and we want to keep our foot to the pedal.”
Leaving the bubble and walking out of the playoffs would have diminished that platform.
Oklahoma City coach Billy Donovan believes it’s a lot to compartmentalize, pursuing social justice and bringing your best to the basketball court, but that his team’s equipped to do it.
“These guys are an incredible group of people,” he said, “and they’re going to be able to do both.”