Deni Avdija has bounce back performance, but Wizards don’t show up against Knicks

Mar 24, 2021 | Deni Avdija

The Washington Wizards continue to trend in the wrong direction of their playoff aspirations after a 131-113 beatdown at the hands of the New York Knicks in a game that was even more one-sided than the final score indicates. In Madison Square Garden, the home team grew their lead each of the first three quarters from 8 to 20 to 31 midway through the third quarter. Silver linings do not do anything for the Wizards in the standings, but Deni Avdija had his highest-scoring total in over 30 contests with 14 points off the bench.

Despite opening the game to a 12-6 lead just minutes into the first quarter, the Wizards would go cold on offense and be open for the Knicks to do business on the other end of the floor. Julius Randle could do no wrong with 37 points on 13-for-24 shooting including a career-high-tying 7-for-10 from three. The rest of the NBA is starting to have success limiting Bradley Beal with aggressive coverages where his supporting cast is unable to make the defense pay. Washington committed 17 turnovers for 27 New York points as the Wizards are now 7-19 when committing 14+ turnovers this season, but 8-8 when committing 13 or fewer.

“I don’t think we even arrived to the arena tonight, honestly, we were still in the hotel today,” Beal opened his post-game availability. “We didn’t bring any focus, any energy, and we damn sure didn’t play defense. That’s why we lost.”

Deni Avdija – Photo Credit: Washington Wizards

In his last 23 games, Deni Avdija is averaging 5.1 points and 4.8 rebounds in 21.2 minutes per game, but has a bleak shooting slash of 40 / 23 / 58 from the field, three, and free-throw line. The rookie remains on the wrong end of whistles from officials as he fouled out in less than 22 minutes, but Avdija had 14 points on 5-for-7 shooting including two 3-pointers that can hopefully jumpstart him moving forward. Of course, he would rather have had the victory.

“We talked and he said some great things,” Avdija said about a conversation he had with Scott Brooks on Monday. “He said some great things that made me positive, made me stay positive. For now, I don’t really care, I’m just trying to win. We’re trying to make it to the playoffs so for me even though I had a good game, it doesn’t matter because we didn’t get the win.”

The Wizards head into Thursday’s NBA trade deadline at 3 PM ET with a woeful 15-27 record, four games back of even the 10-seed for an uphill seat at the play-in tournament. Washington will then play these Knicks again later that night.

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