Lakers are running on empty

The defending champs may not have any more gas left in the tank for their three-peat

Updated: May 5, 2011, 7:51 AM ET
By Ramona Shelburne | ESPNLosAngeles.com

LOS ANGELES -- It happens inch by inch. Slowly, over time. Detectable only in moments, then obvious in an instant and forevermore a reality.

Age has a way of tracking everybody down.

Even the best.

Even champions.

The Lakers may yet summon a finishing kick to this season. But after two games that have left them in the deepest hole they've been in since they trailed the Celtics 3-2 in last year's NBA Finals, L.A. looks neither fresh nor frantic enough to do so.

"They ...

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