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Morning tip: Revisiting defensive fails last time Wizards played in Atlanta

Morning tip: Revisiting defensive fails last time Wizards played in Atlanta

ATLANTA -- It seems like a copout when a team suggests that it was "team defense" that was at fault in a key playoff loss because coaches and teammates don't want to single out one guy as the weak link, but that was exactly the case in Game 4 for the Wizards. They had a road game in hand with a chance to go up 3-1 vs. the Atlanta Hawks.

Instead, they returned to D.C. tied 2-2 after a 111-101 loss on Monday at Phillips Arena. 

Dennis Schroder didn't score all 18 of his points in the second half, after going scoreless in the first 24 minutes with foul trouble, because John Wall was an open door. There were breakdowns everywhere, from Bradley Beal to Jason Smith to Markieff Morris to Kelly Oubre and others.

The Hawks shot 12 of 31 on threes for 38.7%. The reason Schroder, Kent Bazemore, Ersan Ilyasova and Tim Hardaway knocked them down is because of they were given too much space when the Wizards went under screens and relied on the help to switch onto the shooters.

[RELATED: Wizards vs. Hawks Game 6: How and what to watch]

The evidence is ample and this is an area the Wizards will likely change or be much more aggressive in how they execute if they hope to close out tonight in Game 6:

The switches were late or they were too often indecisive on when to say when. That's a relatively easy fix for the Wizards, but it's those small details that'll determine whether this series ends tonight or goes to a Game 7 on Sunday.

[RELATED: Why all stats aren't created equal for Gortat]

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Wizards Tipoff podcast: Fallout from the Kawhi/DeRozan trade; Kevin Love questions

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Wizards Tipoff podcast: Fallout from the Kawhi/DeRozan trade; Kevin Love questions

On the latest episode of the Wizards Tipoff podcast presented by Greenberg and Bederman, Chase Hugheswas joined by Nick Ashooh to break down the fallout from the trade involving Kawhi Leonard and DeMar DeRozan.

They looked at what it means for the Wizards and the East, as well as the Lakers and LeBron. Plus, they took fan questions, many of which centered on Kevin Love and the possibility of a trade to Washington.

You can listen to the episode right here:

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Jeff Green hopes NBA Finals experience with Cavs can rub off on Wizards

Jeff Green hopes NBA Finals experience with Cavs can rub off on Wizards

Jeff Green's basketball résumé got a significant boost this spring and summer as his Cleveland Cavaliers marched all the way to the NBA Finals before they were swept by the Golden State Warriors. It was Green's first time going past the second round of the playoffs and the experience, he says, was invaluable.

Green has come about as close to winning a championship without actually winning one and he certainly hopes to get back in that position. Green believes his new team, the Washington Wizards, have the tools to make a deep playoff run and it's one of the reasons why he signed a free agent deal to join them.

"Being there last year myself with Cleveland, I know it takes a lot. It takes a lot of pieces. I feel like this team has them," he said. "We can get back to that point. When I got the call, I felt like it was the best opportunity for myself to get there."

The Wizards' franchise has not been past the second round of the playoffs since 1979, when they were known as the Bullets. That was before anyone on their roster was born.

But Green pointed to the open Eastern Conference and the talent on the roster as reasons to believe they can accomplish some things that they haven't in decades. They may be capable, but putting it all together is easier said than done.

Green hopes to be one of the glue guys necessary for the Wizards to reach their potential, in part by sharing the lessons he learned.

"Never take it for granted. There are a lot of greats that have never been there," he said. "Getting to the Finals and being part of that was beyond amazing. With the experience and seeing what it took, I can bring that here and get everybody on the same page of knowing what it takes and the sacrifices that you have to do to get to that point."

Green over and over mentioned how it takes a collective effort to go to the conference finals and beyond, but he did show some self-awareness and a sense of humor about his own experience in Cleveland. All teams are different and the one he just left was a unique situation.

"You can’t get there individually. I mean, you can, we did last year. I mean, LeBron [James] carried us all the way there," he joked. "But there’s only one LeBron, but to get there you have to have team unity. You all have to be on the same page and sacrifice to make sure you’re doing what it takes to get the team there. I think that’s the biggest key. It’s not an individual thing… unless you’re LeBron."

If the Wizards are to reach their goals and go to the conference finals or the NBA Finals, they will have to do it differently than the Cavaliers did. They do not have a player on the level of James who can do much of it by himself. But Green said the process of imparting his wisdom has already started.

"I talked to John [Wall]," Green said. "Knowing that he wants to get to the Finals, I was just picking his brain and what he thinks is needed to get there. And me sharing my experience of getting to the Finals and what it takes."

The Wizards have reached a point as an organization where they have the urgency to reach new heights. Green believes he can help them get there.

Listen to our full interview with Jeff Green on the Wizards Tipoff Podcast:

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