PHOENIX — LeBron James sat on the end of the Lakers bench, stewing, waiting for the end. The Lakers had trailed by at least 20 points since midway through the second quarter, and now it was just a waiting game.

Waiting for the buzzer. Waiting for Game 6. Waiting for Anthony Davis.

Halfway through the fourth quarter, James got up from his perch and headed to the locker room to begin his treatment for Game 6. The season will be on the line.

Seven months ago, the Lakers were charmed champions, scarcely missing a beat after a four-month hiatus, avoiding injury and emerging unscathed from an unprecedented postseason to douse themselves in bubbly.

Last year, the Lakers bathed in champagne.

This year, they’re drowning in





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