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.
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:
— J. Michael (@ThisIsJMichael) April 28, 2017
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.