Wizards and Deni Avdija start fast but eventually blow 19-point lead to Raptors

Apr 6, 2021 | Deni Avdija

The Washington Wizards are now 3-12 since the All-Star break following a 103-101 loss to the Toronto Raptors thanks to a game-winning 3-pointer at the buzzer by Gary Trent Jr. In a game that the Wizards led by 19 in the second half, the road team completely fell apart in the fourth quarter, losing the frame 28-15. For those hoping for a Washington tank to improve 2021 draft lottery odds, this was the result for you. In nearly 40 minutes of play, a career-high, Deni Avdija had 12 points and 10 rebounds for his second double-double in three games.

In a game without Bradley Beal, Rui Hachimura, Kyle Lowry, Fred VanVleet, and many others, it was unsurprising to see a low-scoring affair. After the Wizards shot 9-for-18 from three in the first half with all makes coming from Garrison Mathews (4-5), Davis Bertans (3-5), and Deni Avdija (2-5), Washington shot just 3-for-17 from deep in the second half. The Mathews, Bertans, Avdija trio combined for just five three-point attempts after halftime, which was matched by Russell Westbrook who shot 2-for-11 including 1-for-5 deep in the fourth quarter alone.

Deni Avdija – Photo Credit: Washington Wizards

“They get shots when the ball gets to them, we continue to make the play as the game goes along, but we’re not running around trying to get them open shots. So whenever they get their shots, we get them and then they’ll shot them,” Russell Westbrook curiously responded when asked about Bertans and Mathews’s lack of shot attempts in the second half.

After a career-high 39:21 played in the previous game against Dallas, Deni Avdija slightly topped that with 39:39 of play against Toronto where he was tasked with guarding Pascal Siakam. In a self-assessment after the game, Avdija said he felt good against Siakam and called it an honor to guard the opposing team’s best player. The rookie had all 12 of his points through the first three quarters but missed all three of his shot attempts in the final quarter. Aside from knocking down multiple three-pointers for just the third time in his last 14 games, Avdija continues to display his strong right-hand driving ability that NBA scouting reports still have not shut down yet.

“It’s his first year and he’s figuring it out,” Russell Westbrook provided an initially generic assessment of Avdija’s progress this season. “It’s a different year for everybody, especially for him. He’s gotten better as the season has gone along, that’s all you can ask of him is to make sure that he’s improving as the season goes along. Figuring out what’s best for him and his body and he’s been doing a hell of a job of doing that.”

Washington will make the short trip from Tampa where the Raptors are playing their home games this season to Orlando for a Wednesday night matchup with the Magic.

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