So Washington coach Scott Brooks went with a three-guard lineup midway through the fourth, with John Wall, Bradley Beal and Jodie Meeks, and Otto Porter Jr. at strong forward and Markieff Morris at center.
It didn’t work.
The Wizards, fifth in the East at 19-16, have been unable to shake a reputation for playing down to the competition.
They threw up their hands after the 113-99 loss to the Hawks (9-25).
“We talk about it. We say when we play these teams that are not above .500 or not one of the great teams, we go out there playing for stats,” Wall said, according to The Washington Post. “It’s simple as that. We can see it. I think we all can see it when we play.”
Despite a bigger, deeper lineup, Washington was outrebounded by Atlanta 53-40. The Wizards, trying for their first three-game win streak since mid-November after beating the Boston Celtics 111-103, also missed a chance to have 10 road wins and 10 home wins before Jan. 1 for the first time since 1978-79.
Wall said the problem for the Wizards isn’t a lack of frank communication.
“We say it all in the locker room. No matter what. We don’t sugarcoat it from anybody,” Wall said, according to the Post. “And we all let him know what it is. We just got to find a better job of providing and keeping it away.”
Beal said, “plain and simple,” the problem was the Wizards were being too selfish — on both ends of the floor.
“Sometimes even myself included,” Beal said. “Sometimes we do one-pass shots, no-pass shots. Two or three passes on one side of the floor versus moving on both sides of the floor. Teams are going to load up on me and John. That’s something that we should know by now. We got to do a better job of creating, putting the ball on the floor and moving it.
“I think everybody as a collective unit, starters and the bench, we’ve got to do better at it.”
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.