Wizards overmatched by Suns as Deni Avdija has another development game

Apr 11, 2021 | Deni Avdija

The Washington Wizards are saying Bradley Beal’s mid-back tightness is unrelated to the right hip contusion and meralgia paresthetica that kept the NBA’s leading scorer out five games, but nonetheless the road team was without Beal and Davis Bertans for rest on the second night of a back-to-back. Against the second-best team in the NBA, the Wizards hung tough early before the Phoenix Suns took over and won 134-106. In 31 minutes, Deni Avdija had nine points on 2-for-6 shooting and six rebounds.

The Wizards are now 1-8 this season without Beal and the sole win required Russell Westbrook’s 35 point, 21 assist, and 14 rebound triple-double against the Pacers. With inefficient shooting nights from Westbrook (6-17) and Rui Hachimura (2-7), the Wizards struggled to score and their defense was not going to win them this game. Washington committed 16 turnovers for 24 Phoenix points many of those coming on the fast break where the Suns had 27 points. Washington is now 2-14 when allowing 125 or more points this season.

“They came out more aggressive than us and we never picked it up from there,” Russell Westbrook concisely summarized.

Deni Avdija – Photo Credit: Washington Wizards

Less than 24 hours after a game-sealing defensive effort that was officially ruled a steal by Deni Avdija against Damion Lee, the rookie was humbled with his defensive assignment against Devin Booker. After helping limit Booker to 10 points on 5-for-13 shooting in the first half, the All-Star scored 17 points in 10 third-quarter minutes to put the game away. On the bright side, Avdija continues to show flashes of his evolving playmaking skillset and even made a couple of three-pointers in the Arizona desert.

“I like what he’s been doing, I like where he’s going. That was a big play, that was definitely a reaction, he saw a guy beat,” Scott Brooks said about Avdija’s defense before the Suns game about the Warriors game.

Things will not get any easier for Washington as they travel to Utah to now play the best team in the NBA on Monday where they hope to be fully healthy against the Jazz.

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