Quo Vadis? An apt query for frustrated Lakers fans

Thu Apr 17, 2014 7:15pm EDT
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By Mark Lamport-Stokes

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - The title of the historical novel "Quo Vadis" is an apt question for frustrated Los Angeles Lakers fans to ask of players and coaches after the team's nightmare 2013-14 NBA campaign came to an end.

Written by Pole Henryk Sienkiewicz in 1895, the novel borrows its title from the biblical query "Quo vadis Domine?", Latin for "Where are you going, Lord?", and the future destination of the Lakers franchise is certainly up for debate.

Granted the team were severely hampered by multiple injuries throughout the season but, as 16-time NBA champions, they are held to a lofty standard by their supporters who could not believe their eyes as one low after another was posted.

The Lakers plunged embarrassing new depths as they finished the regular season well under .500 with a 27-55 record, having never before lost so many games in a single campaign, and they were eliminated from playoff contention a month ago.

At home, they were a dismal 14-27 in front of Staples Center crowds who became bored and gradually dwindled in number and they failed to reach the playoffs for the first time since 2005, and only the sixth time ever.

The Lakers set team records for their largest losses to the San Antonio Spurs (34 points) and to the Minnesota Timberwolves (36 points) while their 48-point defeat last month to city rivals, the Clippers, was their biggest against any opponent.

Coach Mike D'Antoni came under increased criticism for his various strategies during the season and did not always communicate well with his players, though a rash of injuries certainly made his job a lot more difficult.

Shooting guard Kobe Bryant, a five-time NBA champion, played in only six games after recovering from a torn Achilles' tendon and then fracturing his knee while veteran point guard Steve Nash appeared in only 15 games due to nerve damage in his back.   Continued...

Los Angeles Clippers forward Blake Griffin (L) leaps for a dunk against the Los Angeles Lakers during the first half of their NBA basketball game in Los Angeles, California April 7, 2013. REUTERS/Alex Gallardo