Grizzlies steam roll Wizards again, while Deni Avdija starts second half well

Mar 11, 2021 | Deni Avdija

There are such things as simply bad matchups in the NBA and the Memphis Grizzlies epitomize that for the Washington Wizards. Twice in three games, the Grizzlies have now put a beat down on the Wizards by dominating the paint and containing Bradley Beal. In 24 minutes off the bench, Deni Avdija had 13 points on 5-for-8 shooting and six rebounds.

A reoccurring theme for the Wizards’ transition defense or lack thereof this season has been putting their heads down after missing shots. Washington players have repeatedly said they cannot let their offense impact their defense, but given human nature that is easier said than done. The Grizzlies had 27 fast break points to go along with their whopping 78 paint points where Memphis simply dominated. Jonas Valanciunas had 29 points and 20 rebounds including nine offensive in 32 minutes of bullying the Wizards’ trio of centers.

Deni Avdija – Photo Credit: Washington Wizards

“It’s putting our head down,” Scott Brooks said when asked if effort is the culprit for poor transition defense. “You miss a shot and it’s like the end of the world for some of our guys. … We got to get guys sprinting back those first three steps are sprints and I thought we were waiting too long to see if it’s a make or a miss.”

After spending his All-Star break working out in Miami with close Maccabi coach Veljko Perovic, Avdija provided a much-needed second-quarter boost with eight points on perfect 3-for-3 shooting in eight minutes. The rookie knocked down three 3-pointers, his most in a game in over a month, which is a welcome sight after shooting just 24 percent (10-for-42) over his previous 16 games going into the mid-season break. With Washington as a team struggling to shoot the ball from deep this season it allows defenses to hound Bradley Beal even more without the threat of him passing to shooters, but maybe Avdija can help change that.

The Wizards will begin a five-game homestand on Friday against the likes of the 76ers, Bucks twice, Kings, and Jazz.

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