The Rockets and Thunder will sit out Game 5 on Wednesday following the shooting of Jacob Blake, according to The Athletic's Shams Charania.
Houston and Oklahoma City's decision comes after the Bucks and Magic decided to sit out their own Game 5 on Wednesday afternoon. Blake, 29, was shot by police in the back multiple times in Kenosha, Wis. on Sunday as he attempted to enter his car. Three of Blake's children were in the vehicle at the time of incident.
Russell Westbrook and Chris Paul met for roughly 10 minutes before Wednesday's scheduled contest, per NBA TV. The details of their conversation were not shared, but the Rockets did leave the arena shortly thereafter.
The decision to sit out Wednesday's games continues a wave of protests and activism throughout the NBA in recent months. Players across the league protested the killing of George Floyd in May and June, and players have been sporting social justice messages on their jerseys in Orlando.
Clippers head coach Doc Rivers addressed racism and police brutality in America following Los Angeles' Game 4 win over the Mavericks on Tuesday.
"We're the ones getting killed. We're the ones getting shot," Rivers said. "We’re the ones that are denied to live in certain communities. We’ve been hung, we’ve been shot. All you do is keep hearing about fear. It’s amazing to me why we keep loving this country and this country does not love us back."
The Rockets have been active on the social justice front in recent months. Point guard Russell Westbrook spoke at both the Compton Peace Walk and the annual Juneteenth celebration in Tulsa, and head coach Mike D'Antoni has been a consistent champion of voting rights in the lead up to the 2020 election.
The Rockets and Thunder are the second set of teams to sit out Wednesday's games. The Lakers and Blazers are also "leaning toward" sitting out their matchup on Wednesday, per Yahoo's Chris Haynes.
Houston and Oklahoma City sit tied 2–2 in the first round. The date and time of Game 5 has not been announced following Wednesday's decision.