Lack of movement makes Winter hot

Times Staff Writer

SAN ANTONIO -- The Lakers were blending well and balanced in the first half of their game against San Antonio, finding each other for open shots and playing seamless defense.

Then the second half began, and it all went away in a 103-91 loss Wednesday as players began to defer to Kobe Bryant.

It’s that type of thing that upsets longtime consultant Tex Winter, the architect of the Lakers’ triangle offense.


“The ball has to move, the players have to move,” he said. “And when they don’t, they start standing and watching Kobe. Kobe might get 50, but we still ain’t going to win, or we’ll have a tough time of it.

“It’s a team concept. It’s based on ball and player movement with a purpose. It’s predicated on that, and if we don’t have that, then we’re not a very good team.”

As the Lakers try to find an identity without injured center Andrew Bynum, Winter went right to the heart of a possible solution.

“Lamar [Odom] and Luke [Walton] really might be the key to this,” he said. “They’re going to have to hit the open shots. They’re going to have to hit a good percentage of their shots, which they’re not doing right now. They’ll get better and more open shots if we play a team concept and move the basketball and go through with our cuts.”

Odom took only five shots until the final three minutes of the game. He finished with 11 points on four-for-seven shooting. Walton was also quiet, scoring five points on two-for-three shooting.

Winter did reserve praise for Kwame Brown . . . sort of.

“I’ve got hope and faith, if you want to call it that, that Kwame can get a little more rhythm and play better than he’s played to this point,” Winter said. “I anticipate it’ll be a little time because he’s been out so much. In this game, you can’t play unless you’re in superb physical shape, and I don’t think he is.”


Brown had six points and six rebounds in 22 minutes against San Antonio.

“I think the players and the coaches all think that Kwame is capable of playing better basketball than he’s played at this point,” Winter said. “It’s just tough for him to get back in a groove, but he will. He’s got to. If he doesn’t, well, then it’s going to be difficult times for us.”

DJ Mbenga made a surprise early entrance against San Antonio, coming in with 4:18 left in the first quarter after Brown picked up his second foul.

He immediately ran into problems.

Mbenga, who was signed Monday to a 10-day contract, missed a short hook shot and fumbled the ball out of bounds after a fastbreak feed from Derek Fisher.

He then had the ball stolen by Manu Ginobili while dribbling in the post. He left with 2:22 to play in the first quarter and never reentered, finishing with two fouls and two turnovers in less than two minutes of action.