Wizards suffer consecutive blowout loss as Deni Avdija receives second half benching

Feb 7, 2021 | Deni Avdija

The Washington Wizards’ season is quickly spiraling to the point of no return following a blowout 119-97 loss to the Charlotte Hornets less than 48 hours after a 122-95 loss to the Miami Heat. More abysmal three-point and transition defense got the Wizards in another early double-digit deficit that they never worked their way back from to even be competitive in the second half. In just 15 minutes of play, Avdija had four points on 2-for-5 shooting, two rebounds, and two assists.

Photo Credit: Washington Wizards

Surrendering 69 points in the first half alone, the Wizards allowed the Hornets 10 three-pointers and 10 points off of eight turnovers through the first two quarters. Allowing 102 points before the fourth quarter even began, the Wizards were out of reach before the final frame started. Charlotte received contributions all around with six players in double figures, while Washington had no one besides Bradley Beal with more than 15 points.

“We got to have some pride, man. Some dog, we don’t have no dog. Just kind of let teams walk over us and that shit is frustrating,” Beal summarized.

Deni Avdija – Photo Credit: Washington Wizards

The Wizards rookie has continued to start every game he has been available for this season, but on Sunday, Avdija was benched to start the second half for Davis Bertans. Before the game, Scott Brooks spoke about a film session he held with just Avdija and Rui Hachimura on Saturday in preparation for Sunday’s afternoon matchup hoping that it would lead to results. Evidently, Brooks was not satisfied with what he saw.

“We needed to make a change. We were down a sizeable number and we needed some different energy, different players,” Brooks answered with a mostly non-answer on Avdija’s second-half benching. “He has to be ready next game. It’s a tough league, you have to learn game by game and you learn it day by day. He has to bounce back and play better tomorrow. We need him to be consistent on some of those things. We’re not asking for him to make every shot, we’re just asking him to be prepared and being aware of who you’re guarding and how to guard him. Those are scouting report things that we have to get better with.”

The small silver lining is that we did see another flash of the 20-year old’s ball-handling capabilities in transition as he got Russell Westbrook an easy look in the paint. It was inconceivable to think Avdija would be perfect immediately coming from a new country without Summer League or a conventional offseason, which is why Washington has always taken the long-view on his development.

“The sky’s the limit for Deni,” veteran teammate Ish Smith said. “He’s working, he keeps pushing, he keeps pressing, he’s going to achieve any and everything that he can achieve. I’m happy with his progression. He can shoot the basketball, he can create, he’s really good and underrated on the block, posting up. He’s really good off pick-and-rolls, got great size, defensively he’s constantly getting better. Deni has a lot in the tank.”

Deni Avdija – Photo Credit: Washington Wizards

Washington’s road trip wraps up with the second game of a back-to-back in Chicago on Monday. The Bulls already beat the Wizards twice in a two-game series in D.C. to start the season.

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