NBA Roundup: Rockets, Bucks triumph; players, coaches take knee, Isaac, Pop don’t

Published August 1, 2020, 10:15 PM

by Manila Bulletin Sports

Harden leads Rockets past Mavs in OT
James Harden Houston Rockets
James Harden #13 of the Houston Rockets (Mike Ehrmann / Getty Images / AFP)

The NBA bubble in Orlando resumed Friday with the Houston Rockets surviving the Dallas Mavericks 153-149 in overtime.

Houston superstar James Harden scored 49 points to lead all scorers, . He also had nine rebounds and eight assists.

Trailing 139-137 with four seconds remaining in regulation, Harden missed a free throw but Robert Covington tipped the ball to tie the score.

Luka Doncic attempted a triple to win but missed, sending the game into overtime.

Dallas went ahead by four 143-139 in the first two minutes of extra period but Houston knocked basket after basket to pull away.

Giannis, Bucks down Celtics
Giannis Antetokounmpo Milwaukee Bucks
Giannis Antetokounmpo #34 of the Milwaukee Bucks (Ashley Landis / Pool / Getty Images / AFP)

The Milwaukee Bucks knocked off the Boston Celtics 119-113 in their game at the restart.

Giannis Antetokounmpo scored 36 for the Bucks which last won the NBA title in 1971.

”We just got the stops. We tried to play hard, make the right play and hit open guy,” said Antetokounmpo, who also grabbed 15 rebounds and issued seven assists.

Magic’s Isaac lone player to stand while others take a knee
Jonathan Isaac Orlando Magic
Jonathan Isaac #1 of the Orlando Magic stands as others kneel before the start of a game between the Brooklyn Nets and the Orlando Magic on July 31, 2020 at The HP Field House at ESPN Wide World Of Sports Complex in Lake Buena Vista, Florida. (Ashley Landis / Pool / Getty Images / AFP)

If you thought that all NBA players, coaches, and referees kneel for social justice at the restart, think again.

Orlando Magic player Jonathan Isaac did not join the team in kneeling for the pre-game ritual in their match Friday against the Brooklyn Nets.

Isaac stood alone for the US national anthem, in his team jersey and sans the usual “Black Lives Matter” T-shirt which was worn by his teammates.

Isaac, an ordained minister, cited religion in decision not to kneel.

“I believe that Black Lives Matter. A lot went in my decision. I just felt that kneeling or wearing a Black Lives Matter t-shirt don’t go hand in hand with supporting Black Lives,” Isaac said.

“Everyone is made in the image of God and we all fall short of God’s glory. And each and everyone of us do things we shouldn’t do and say things we shouldn’t say, we dislike people that we shouldn’t hate and dislike…

“When you look around, racism isn’t the only thing that plagues our society, plagues our nation, plagues our world. So I felt like coming together on that message, not only racism, but everything that plagues our society, I feel our answer to it is the Gospel.”

It was all work for Isaac afterwards as he scored 16 points and hauled eight rebounds in 16 minutes of play. The Magic won, 128-118.

Spurs coach Popovich also stands
Spurs Gregg Popovich
Head coach Gregg Popovich of the San Antonio Spurs stands while wearing a mask while head coach Luke Walton, center, of the Sacramento Kings kneels with players before an NBA basketball game at the Visa Athletic Center in the ESPN Wide World Of Sports Complex on July 31, 2020 in Lake Buena Vista, Florida. Kim Klement / Pool / Getty Images / AFP)

Like Isaac, outspoken coach Gregg Popovich also stood up while others kneeled during the pre-game ritual in the Sacramento Kings-San Antonio Spurs game.

Wearing a Black Lives Matter T-shirt, Popovich cited personal reason for his decision. He also said that he didn’t want to disclose the reason.

“I prefer to keep that to myself,” said Popovich. “Everybody has to make a personal decision. The league has been great about that. Everybody has the freedom to react any way that they want. For whatever reasons that I have, I reacted the way I wanted to.”

The Spurs won the game 128-120.

NBA court features social justice banners
NBA bubble
The Los Angeles Lakers and the LA Clippers wear Black Lives Matter Shirt and kneel during the national anthem prior to the game against the LA Clippers at The Arena at ESPN Wide World Of Sports Complex on July 30, 2020 in Lake Buena Vista, Florida. (Mike Ehrmann / Getty Images / AFP)

Each NBA court in the bubble has large “Black Lives Matter” slogans and players are allowed to wear jerseys adorned with messages ranging from “I Can’t Breathe” to “Justice Now” and “Education Reform.”

LeBron James remained with his name. Antetokounmpo had the word ”Equality” on the back of his jersey.

Rep. Roberts threatens to pull tax breaks for players taking a knee

Some are happy that people are vocal about social justice. Some are not.

Include this lawmaker in the list of those who are not fond of the pre-game ritual. And the Oklahoma City Thunder are on his radar.

Rep. Sean Roberts (R-Hominy) threatened to pull tax breaks for the team if players kneel during the national anthem.

“If the Oklahoma City Thunder leadership and players follow the current trend of the NBA by kneeling during the national anthem prior to Saturday’s game, perhaps we need to reexamine the significant tax benefits the State of Oklahoma granted the Oklahoma City Thunder organization when they came to Oklahoma,” Roberts said in a statement.

It remains to be seen if Chris Paul and company kneel as the Thunder’s first official game in the restart is against the Utah Jazz on Saturday, Aug. 1 (Sunday, Manila time).  (Compiled by Tristan Lozano)

 
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