Murray Says Bullets Should Be Winning

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ORLANDO, Fla. - Washington Bullets forward Tracy Murray knows first-hand what it takes to be a winner in the NBA.

Murray was playing for Portland two years ago when he was traded along with Clyde Drexler to the Houston Rockets, who eventually won the NBA championship that season.

Murray was with the Rockets briefly, leaving to play for the Toronto Raptors the next season. But he was there long enough to collect a ring and to figure out that his current team is missing some ingredients that his title team possessed.

"That team was real simple," Murray recalled yesterday after the Bullets practiced in Orlando before heading to Atlanta for a game tonight against the Hawks. "Everything we did was simple. It wasn't hard to score with that team. The whole system was very easy. We just went out and played the game. Pass into Dream [Hakeem Olajuwon], Dream is going to score or kick it out for a wide-open three. It was very simple. People moved the ball. People on the weak side touched it, people on the strong side touched it, Dream got his touches, they made free throws, they played defense.

"Sometimes it's hard for [the Bullets] to score. We make things difficult on ourselves sometimes. Once the chemistry is so tight, once we get the chemistry like that [Rockets] team, that's how it is going to be here. As of right now, we are not that tight yet, and we are still growing as a team."

That has been particularly true in the late stages of close games. A turnover here, a forced shot there and before they know it, the Bullets are on the losing end of another squeaker. They are 5-9 in games decided by five or fewer points, 0-6 in those games against teams with winning records.

"When it comes down to crunch time, don't panic," Murray said. "That's the one thing Dream always said: `Don't panic - the other team is going to get tight. Don't panic. Play loose.' And when it came down to the wire, Houston hit the big shots, and the other team got tight. You got to have a certain amount of poise going down the stretch."

Murray conceded that a lot of that poise is gained by experiencing those situations - and the Bullets are the fourth-youngest team in the league. But with a team so talented, he said there is no excuse for them to lose as many as they do. …