On Tuesday, the Los Angeles Lakers will begin the Western Conference semifinals against the Golden State Warriors, and it is perhaps the most anticipated playoff series of the four that will be taking place in the second round.
Los Angeles has released its injury report for Game 1, and while there isn’t much reason for concern, there is a small change, as reserve center Mo Bamba is listed as questionable with left ankle soreness.
Lakers’ injury report for Game 1 at Golden State: pic.twitter.com/0mq9pOqNWe
— Jovan Buha (@jovanbuha) May 1, 2023
Bamba was acquired right before the trade deadline in a deal with the Orlando Magic in which the Lakers shipped out veteran guard Patrick Beverley. Many saw it as a good trade, as Bamba is a very capable shot-blocker and 3-point shooter.
Upon arriving in L.A., Bamba flashed his potential as Anthony Davis’ main backup, but he suffered an ankle injury in early March and only returned for the team’s final two regular season games. Since then, head coach Darvin Ham has barely played him, a decision that some fans have questioned, as they have wondered why Ham hasn’t opted for Bamba’s size and defense when Davis is resting.
It didn’t seem to matter that much in the first round of the playoffs, as the Lakers got past the Memphis Grizzlies in six games.
Even with Bamba barely playing, their defense has remained stellar. They were lacking in that department during the first half of the season, but since then, they have become one of the NBA’s best on the defensive end.
That defense will need to be on top of its game in the next round, as the Warriors are as potent offensively as any team, and L.A. will need rim protection in order to apply pressure to the Warriors’ outstanding outside shooters. The Lakers will also need to hold Kevon Looney off the boards in order to be able to ignite their deadly transition game.