On Mamba Night, the Lakers make short work of Blazers to take 3-1 series lead Video: What LeBron James said about Jacob Blake … ‘Black people in America are scared’ NBA players made it clear on reopening night: They are not going to take their eye off the ball.Yes, the games officially are afoot in the bubble at Walt Disney World Resort in Lake Buena Vista, Florida, but the guys out there dribbling have not shut up.On the contrary: They’re doing what they can to direct the focus toward the groundswell of protest against social injustices in America.On Thursday, before both the Lakers defeated the Clippers 103-101 and the Pelicans-Jazz game preceding it, players lined up on the sideline near the on-court “BLACK LIVES MATTER” lettering and knelt together — alongside coaches and game officials — during the national anthem. “What’s amazing,” Rivers said, “is when you think about right now, some of the stuff that John Lewis was fighting for, we’re still fighting for.“Voter suppression right now is at an all-time high … we have a group of people who are trying to get people not to vote. Latinos, Blacks and young people are the targets. That’s who they’re trying to get not to vote. It’s amazing when you think about how long ago that was, and yet we’re still fighting that fight.”The players had their say too.Several lent their voices to the pregame montage that played in the arena and on the nationwide TNT broadcast. Clipper Chris Paul, the NBPA President, was among those featured on screen, and among the NBA and WNBA representatives on a recent conference call with former first lady Michelle Obama.“I don’t care what happens as far as these games, or life comes back to normal,” Paul said on the video. “Things aren’t gonna change until we make them change.”After his team’s 106-104 victory, Jazz guard Donovan Mitchell brought a bulletproof vest with him to his postgame interview. He explained that the vest — which was adorned, he told Bleacher Report’s Taylor Rooks, with the names of people killed by police — was a visual cue representing the “hands up, don’t shoot” mantra. “We’re sick and tired of being afraid,” Mitchell said.Paul George said he was proud to be a part of the pregame protest.“It was great to play for something, we stood up for something, we knelt for something,” he said. “This league is all about unity and can’t say it enough, I love being part of it, it’s a brotherhood, this league, and at the same time, we know we can change things as well.”The Lakers’ LeBron James walked off the floor and, on TNT, talked to America.“The game of basketball has always been bigger than just the ball and the rim, 10 guys on the floor with referees,” James said. “It’s an opportunity to use this platform to be able to spread a lot of positive, a lot of love throughout the course of the whole world. We understand what’s going on in society right now, and we’re using this NBA platform, as players and coaches, as organizations, to continue to stand strong on that.”Related Articles Photos: Lakers defeat Trail Blazers in Game 4 of first-round playoff series Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Error Chris Paul, Russell Westbrook and other NBA stars pay tribute to Kobe Bryant For Lakers’ LeBron James, Jacob Blake’s shooting is bigger issue than a big Game 4 victory The Lakers and Clippers linked arms, the Clippers with their heads bowed. LeBron James raised his right fist during the final notes of the anthem, a recorded rendition delivered by the Compton Kidz Club.In a statement, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said he was supportive of the collective gesture, long considered exceedingly controversial and in violation of the league policy: “I respect our teams’ unified act of peaceful protest for social justice,” he said. “And under these unique circumstances will not enforce our long-standing rule requiring standing during the playing of our national anthem.”The participants did more than kneel, of course: After warming up in black T-shirts that read “Black Lives Matter,” many players displayed socially relevant, NBA-approved messages on the backs of their game jerseys where their last names usually go. Included among them: “Black Lives Matter,” “How Many More,” and “I Am a Man.”Coaches wore NBA Coaches for Racial Justice patches, a reference to the NBA Coaches Association’s panel committed to police reform and voting rights. And Lakers Coach Frank Vogel paused before taking questions from reporters pregame to pay homage to iconic civil rights activist John Lewis, who died July 17 and was laid to rest Thursday.Earlier, Clippers Coach Doc Rivers — who, for several days has been rocking a ballcap that reads: “VOTE” — shared some of his memories of spending time with Lewis, noting that his work continues.