Game 3 of the Atlanta Hawks’ playoff series against the Miami Heat was delayed about 40 minutes after a suspicious package was found outside State Farm Arena shortly before tipoff Friday.
According to Atlanta police, the package was found at 100 Centennial Olympic Park Drive, near the Dominique Wilkins statue outside the stadium. The streets around the area were shut down and SWAT team officers were en route to search, a department spokeswoman said at the time.
NBA league sources told Channel 2 Action News arena security discovered the package and called in bomb-sniffing dogs to check the stadium. Gates 1, 2 and 3, which had been shut down when the package was discovered, are now reopened and the all-clear has been given. The game officially tipped off at 7:55 p.m. Friday night.
Shortly before 8 p.m., Atlanta police said streets would soon begin reopening.
The Hawks released a statement indicating the package was found outside Gate 2 of the arena. The police department’s bomb team removed the package and no threat was detected.
“Out of an abundance of caution, Gates 1, 2 and 3 were temporarily closed by the Atlanta Police Department while the police department, K-9 units and Arena security worked to clear the area and investigate the contents of the package,” the statement read. “The contents of the package were not found to be explosive, and the package was removed safely by the Atlanta Bomb Squad.”
The stands of State Farm Arena had remained nearly empty ahead of Friday’s playoff game as long lines of fans stretched outside the doors, waiting to be allowed in, but filled in quickly once gates were reopened.
— Please return to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution for updates.