Heat-Hawks delayed by suspicious package outside arena

ATLANTA (AP) — The NBA playoff game between the Miami Heat and Atlanta Hawks was delayed Friday night after a suspicious package was found outside State Farm Arena.

The tipoff was pushed back nearly an hour while police investigated the package. Three gates were closed while security personnel made sure there was no danger.

The package was found near the stairwell that provides access to a MARTA subway station at the arena.

The game finally began shortly before 8 p.m., but many fans in the sellout crowd were still in long lines outside the arena, plodding through security checkpoints that are in place for all games.

“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 arena and investigate the contents,” the arena said in a statement. “The contents of the package were found not to be explosive, and the package was removed safely by the Atlanta Bomb Squad.”

The Heat were leading the best-of-seven series after winning the first two games in Miami. Games 3 and 4 are in Atlanta.

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