Wizards

Ford calls out freshman Murphy before Bedlam game

Ford calls out freshman Murphy before Bedlam game

STILLWATER, Okla. (AP) Just in time for the Bedlam rivalry game, Oklahoma State coach Travis Ford is calling out freshman Kamari Murphy to get back on his game.

Murphy inherited the job as the Cowboys' starting power forward when Michael Cobbins broke his big toe at the start of the season, but his production has fallen off lately.

``He knows I'm not happy with him right now. He knows that,'' Ford said before practice Thursday. ``I'm not making any excuses for him. Freshman, senior, whatever, you're expected to perform at a level, especially when you've shown you can play at that level for us. He's done it at the beginning of the year.

``Freshmen have a little bit different mentality sometimes. They embrace success very quickly and can kind of get content a little bit. We're aggressively talking to him about that, but he knows I'm not happy with the way he's playing right now and he's not overly excited about it either.''

And Murphy isn't alone.

Ford's squad has scuffled after a hot start, dropping out of the Top 25 after back-to-back losses last week against ranked opponents. He wasn't much more pleased about a sloppy performance in a 63-45 victory against TCU on Wednesday night, with a season-worst 24 turnovers preventing the Cowboys (11-3, 1-1 Big 12) from doing more with a strong shooting performance.

``It was just disappointing for me. I was pretty upset,'' Ford said.

Ford said he was on the fence about whether to drop Murphy from the starting lineup because he's also seeking more consistency from Cobbins. Their next game is Saturday at Oklahoma (10-3, 1-0).

``That's a possibility. I haven't made any decisions yet,'' Ford said. ``But that's always something players want to shoot for and coaches know that's not a big deal. You couldn't have told me that, though, when I played. So, I understand that. I really didn't grasp that until I became a coach.''

Even though Murphy went scoreless in a loss to Gonzaga last week, that's not what Ford is concerned about. The Cowboys' three losses this season have come in games when they've been outrebounded by at least 10, and that's where Murphy can be a factor.

He had been averaging 6.9 rebounds through the first nine games of the season, but has had just one rebound in three of the past five games.

``His game's not based on scoring or based on anything like that,'' Ford said. ``What he can do, he can be consistent at. I can understand going into a shooting slump. But I don't accept things that you can control that you're not doing right now.''

Oklahoma State dominated rebounding 40-17 against TCU on Wednesday night. Ford said he thought the Cowboys were more focused on rebounding, but also that TCU didn't crash the boards that hard.

``I don't think we've reached the peak yet, but I feel like what we've been doing, we've been doing pretty well. Even without rebounding the ball, we still had big close games against top-ranked schools,'' Markel Brown said. ``I think we're doing pretty good as of now, but it can get better.''

The Sooners have won eight straight on their home court in the series. Oklahoma State hasn't won in Norman since 2004, when it went on to win the Big 12 championship and reach the Final Four.

``This game is never an easy game for us,'' Brown said. ``So, we're going to have to be prepared no matter what.''

It'll be the Bedlam debut for Murphy and fellow freshmen Phil Forte and Marcus Smart, the Cowboys' second-leading scorer.

``I could feel the atmosphere from just sitting on my couch watching it. You could just feel how crazy and how loud and how everything was going,'' Smart said. ``It looked fun to play in. I'm very excited and can't wait to play in it.''

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Wizards committed more turnovers against the Raptors than they have in any game in 25 years

Wizards committed more turnovers against the Raptors than they have in any game in 25 years

Whether it's good or bad, nothing the Wizards do is subtle. 

They'll score a million points and give up two million points. They'll beat the Heat, Nuggets and Celtics without Bradley Beal but also blow an 18-point fourth quarter lead to the Bulls. 

The Wizards had some turnover issues Friday night, but again, they're never subtle. 

Washington committed 28 turnovers on the way to a 29-point loss. Following the first seven minutes of play, the Wizards had seven turnovers and seven points. 

The last time the Wizards turned the ball over that much was April 2, 1994, in a 104-96 win over the Bucks. The last time an NBA team turned it over 28 times? The 2010 Suns. 

Nine Wizards players had multiple turnovers, while five players had at least three. 

Following Bradley Beal's comments criticizing the team's culture and need to develop winning habits, the Wizards' response left more than enough to be desired. Credit the Raptors defense utilizing their length and ball pressure to take advantage of when the Wizards were loose with the ball, but it takes more than good defense to turn it over 28 times. 

The bright side is this was an uncharacteristic performance for the Wizards. They currently average the 10th-fewest turnovers per game in the NBA, so there's a good chance they clean things up on Monday against the Pistons. 

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Wizards barely put up a fight vs. Raptors after Bradley Beal's strong comments

Wizards barely put up a fight vs. Raptors after Bradley Beal's strong comments

The Washington Wizards lost to the Toronto Raptors 140-111 on Friday night on the road. Here are five takeaways from what went down...

1. In case anyone was wondering how the Wizards would respond to Bradley Beal's strong comments about the team's culture, the answer is not well.

The Wizards barely put up a fight against the Toronto Raptors in a lopsided loss. They lost by 29 and trailed by as many as 33.

One reason was they committed 28 turnovers. They also allowed the Raptors to make 22 threes. That's the third-most allowed in one game by the Wizards in franchise history.

This was the Wizards' 41st game of the season. With a 13-28 record, they are on pace to win 26 games.

2. The Wizards didn't just lose this game, they may have lost backup shooting guard Jordan McRae for an extended period of time.

McRae stepped on a shoe at midcourt and rolled his left ankle. He immediately went down in obvious pain and had to be carried off the floor and into the locker room. 

It was reminiscent of the ankle injury Garrison Mathews suffered nearly two weeks ago. That one fortunately did not result in a fracture or ligament damage. He just had a bad ankle sprain.

Just like Mathews, McRae suffered his injury at a time when he was playing well and really coming into his own. Tough timing.

3. There weren't many positives for the Wizards in this one, but Isaac Bonga certainly was one. The second-year wing dropped a career-high 17 points to go along with 10 rebounds and a steal. Five of his rebounds were on the offensive end.

Bonga shot 6-for-9 from the field and hit two threes. His continued development as a scorer has been impressive to watch this season.

4. Davis Bertans is such a good shooter that when he releases the ball, it is expected to go in. Even rarer, it seems, he misses two in a row.

Every once in a while, once in a blue moon, he has a legitimate off-shooting night. Friday was one of those nights. Bertans had 12 points and shot 3-for-11 from three.

Per usual of late, Bertans wasn't exactly open due to his place on the scouting report but he got decent looks. Many of his threes clanged off the front of the rim. 

Maybe he had tired legs. Whatever it was, the Latvian Laser didn't have it like he usually does.

5. The Isaiah Thomas experience has not been good as of late. The Wizards point guard at another bad game, this time with eight points in 16 minutes.

He just looked off; sluggish and making mental mistakes. That included two turnovers in the first quarter when he passed the ball as the shot clock expired.

Those decisions were inexcusable and in his last 10 games, Thomas has averaged 8.5 points while shooting 34.4 percent. He has not been the same guy since coming back from his calf injury in mid-December. But it's been more than physical. His head hasn't seemed to be in the game like it was earlier this season.

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