Wizards offensive struggles continue against Mavericks as Deni Avdija plays most NBA minutes

Apr 4, 2021 | Deni Avdija

Understandably so, the Washington Wizards continue to struggle without the NBA’s leading scorer on the floor. Matters were made worse when Rui Hachimura would join Bradley Beal in street clothes as a late scratch with right shoulder tightness. Without two of their three best players, the Wizards had a season-low offensive night in a 109-87 loss to the Dallas Mavericks who were playing on the second night of a back-to-back. In a game-high and season-high 39 minutes, Deni Avdija had nine points and eight rebounds.

Entering Saturday’s game as the fourth-worst three-point shooting team in the NBA at 34.5 percent from deep, the Wizards could not even reach that efficiency with 5-for-25 shooting from beyond the arc. Washington has now shot worse than 30 percent from three in a third of their games so far this season and is a miserable 3-13 in such games. The home team trailed by just eight points entering the fourth quarter but their inability to hit timely triples, 1-for-9 in the final frame, sealed the loss. In another thematic issue throughout the season, the Wizards surrendered 23 points off of their 14 turnovers

Deni Avdija – Photo Credit: Washington Wizards

Contributing to the Wizards’ poor three-point shooting, Deni Avdija missed all four of his shots from deep as his now prolonged slump may simply be representative of his current capability with the deeper NBA three-point line that his close Maccabi coach Veljko Perovic has already previously explained may take some time to adjust to. Over his last 13 games, Avdija has shot just 20 percent (9-for-45) from three.

In a season that continues to get bleaker for Washington, the flashes that Avdija puts on display occasionally represent some of the limited silver linings. Although Tim Hardway Jr. pleaded for an offensive foul call, it was good to see Avdija able to create space while working with his weaker left hand to knock down a jump shot. Avdija was also tasked as one of the main defenders on Luka Doncic along with Chandler Hutchison as Washington did an ok job containing the dynamic point guard who finished with 26 points on 12-for-24 shooting including just 1-for-8 from deep.

“You just can’t get discouraged if he makes a tough shot on you,” Scott Brooks said pre-game about Avdija guarding Doncic. “He’s a shot-maker, he’s a tough shot maker. … Hopefully you can make him a volume shooter and not an efficient shooter, but it’s going to be hard to do. Deni’s going to get the first crack at him, we’re going to need everybody to help out.”

The Wizards now begin a six-game road trip starting on Monday in Tampa Bay where they will play the Toronto Raptors. As much as Scott Brooks is hoping Bradley Beal and/or Rui Hachimura may be available, he was unsure after the Saturday night loss to Dallas.

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