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LeBron James and Anthony Davis know they can win a championship together because they've actually won a championship together. In their first season as Los Angeles co-stars, they led the Lakers all the way to the title. Everything has gone wrong since. Both James and Davis have spent the past two seasons fighting off injuries. Talen Horton-Tucker is the only other member of the 2019-20 Lakers who hasn't left the team. The 2020 additions of Dennis Schroder and Montrezl Harrell led to a first-round loss to Phoenix. The 2021 addition of Russell Westbrook couldn't even get them that far.

Davis will turn 30 next season. James will turn 38. They're two years removed from their run to the title in the Orlando bubble, and it's no longer fully clear whether they'll be able to repeat it. But Davis still believes. In a pregame news conference Sunday, he reaffirmed his faith in his partnership with James, and James specifically.

"I think us two can. We've shown that we can," Davis said. "I don't know that's something we just have to reevaluate in the offseason, upstairs, me and him talking about this season and what we would like to see next season and kind of just figure it out."

That he emphasized the two of them specifically is notable. When Westbrook was acquired, he was supposed to give the Lakers a Big Three. Now, only a year in, Westbrook appears destined to be traded. While Davis would not blame Westbrook for the failed season, he acknowledged that the former MVP never quite fit into the role they envisioned.

"When I got here, I didn't play the same way I played with Bron," Davis said. "Bron had to change; everybody had to change. Everybody had to make sacrifices. It was tough for [Westbrook] to adjust to that."

Part of what has made the last two seasons such a struggle is how far away the team has gotten from its roots. James and Davis were surrounded by shooters and defenders when they won the championship. Slowly, those shooters and defenders became superfluous ball-handlers. Eventually, the Lakers found themselves with a roster filled with aging former All-Stars and youngsters that desperately needed the ball. Perhaps a Westbrook trade can correct those issues.

But none of this will matter if James and Davis can't stay healthy. James has played just 101 games over the past two years. Davis has played 76. Part of the motivation for acquiring Westbrook was ensuring that James and Davis were healthy when the playoffs arrived. Now, the Lakers have to find a way to keep them healthy in the regular season, too. If they don't, the playoffs are no longer a guarantee.