Bradley Beal and Russell Westbrook fuel Wizards upset over Jazz as Deni Avdija’s 3-point slump continues

Mar 19, 2021 | Deni Avdija

You have already heard this story before, the Washington Wizards upset a top team in the NBA. Whether it’s the Nets, Suns, Lakers, Clippers, or tonight against the Utah Jazz, holders of the best record in the NBA, the Wizards have found their number. In the 131-122 Washington victory to snap a five-game losing streak, Deni Avdija had two points and four rebounds in 20 minutes.

Deni Avdija – Photo Credit: Washington Wizards

In probably the best-combined performance between Bradley Beal and Russell Westbrook this season, the Wizards had their third-highest offensive output against the 6th best defensive rating team in the NBA. Beal continued his stellar season with 43 points on an efficient 16-for-24 shooting including 4-for-6 from deep after missing all five of his 3-point attempts the night before against Sacramento. The Wizards snapped their troubling 11-game losing streak when Beal scores 40 or more points. Russell Westbrook exploded for 20 points two minutes into the second quarter and finished with 35 points, 15 rebounds, and 13 assists in his 13th triple-double of the season.

“That’s growth. He’s easy to play with because he understands the game, he’s very unselfish, and I feel like I’m the same way,” Beal said about his partnership with Westbrook. “It’s just a feeling out there, it’s not like we’re telling each other what to do, certain stuff we may see we may teach or say, ‘watch out for this’ or ‘look at me here’ in certain spots. More or less, it’s just reactionary. We just understand where each other will be on the floor, where we like the ball. It’s been great to see and be a part of.”

In his last 22 games, Deni Avdija has struggled from beyond the arc. Shooting just 23.1 percent (15-for-65) from deep during that stretch, Avdija has contributed some to Washington having the third-worst shooting percentage from three this season after being third best in the NBA before the Orlando bubble last season. That is not unsurprising as he adjusts to the deeper 3-point line compared to when he played for Maccabi Tel Aviv and something his close coach Veljko Perovic foreshadowed. “I say six to eight, nine more months until he feels like this is the free-throw line, this NBA three-point line,” Perovic said in December. On a brighter note, Avdija’s basketball IQ in transition remains on display as he hit Isaac Bonga in stride from half-court for a layup in the first half.

Washington will now get ready to spend a week in New York with games at the Nets and two at the Knicks starting on Sunday.

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