Then there was James, who had been incredibly durable in his 16-year career. But during the Lakers’ Christmas Day game against the Golden State Warriors, he limped off the court with a strained groin and missed the next 17 games. Without him, the Lakers struggled. The hope was that they could regain their footing once he returned, but he was not the cure-all anyone imagined. The Lakers continued to lose with James back in the lineup, even though he said he had “activated” himself for a playoff push.
It had become clear by then, however, that the Lakers lacked any discernible chemistry or cohesion, especially after Johnson and Rob Pelinka, their general manager, tried and failed to acquire the All-Star center Anthony