On Saturday, TMZ Sports reported that Lakers reserve guard Ben McLeMore had been in a one-car crash in Playa Vista, CA, but was unharmed and had passed a field sobriety test.
Lakers head coach Frank Vogel confirmed on Sunday that McLemore wasn’t injured and was with the team as they prepared for Game 1 of their first-round series against the Phoenix Suns to open the NBA playoffs.
“He is okay and available, yes,” Vogel told reporters on Zoom prior to tip-off.
Vogel’s assessment of McLemore was quickly confirmed by both the Lakers’ status report — McLemore is not listed as inactive for Game 1 — and the team’s official Twitter account, which posted a photo of McLemore dunking during warmups:
Almost playoff time ⏳ pic.twitter.com/22LYIeHL2d— Los Angeles Lakers (@Lakers) May 23, 2021
McLemore, a 3-point specialist, has averaged 8 points and is shooting 36.8% from deep since joining the Lakers midseason after the Houston Rockets bought him out. He has averaged 17.5 minutes per game in his 21 appearances for the Lakers, but played less than two minutes in the final game of the regular season and was a DNP-CD in the team’s play-in game vs. the Golden State Warriors on Wednesday. Outside of injuries to a key rotation player, McLemore is unlikely to play much more in the playoffs, but could be looked at to provide a spark off the bench with his shooting if the team’s offense needs a boost.
Bigger than all that, though, is that it’s just good news that McLemore is all right and was able to join the team.
The Lakers and Suns will tip off on Sunday at 12:30 p.m. PT. The game will be televised exclusively on ABC.
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