Washington Wizards: 3 Takeaways from 119-114 preseason loss to the Brooklyn Nets

Washington Wizards. (Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images)
Washington Wizards. (Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images) /
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Washington Wizards.
Washington Wizards.Mandatory Credit: Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports /

The Washington Wizards opened up their 2020-21 campaign with a 119-114 preseason loss to Kevin Durant and the Brooklyn Nets. Here’s what we learned.

On Sunday evening, the shorthanded Washington Wizards faced a tall task: guarding Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving. With Russell Westbrook, Bradley Beal, and Davis Bertans inactive for the preseason opener in Brooklyn, the Nets’ duo feasted on the Wizards early, combining for 23 points on 8/9 in shooting in just the first quarter of action. With the Wizards’ offense floundering in the first half, scoring only 50 points, the Nets smothered Washington with a barrage of high-percentage looks from Durant and Irving. Despite an 18 point deficit at halftime, the Wizards found a pulse in the third quarter and opened the half on a 12-0 run, which cut the lead to just six points going into the fourth quarter. Despite narrowing the gap, Washington couldn’t stop former Wizard Chris Chiozza late and fell to the Nets, 119-114.

Here are three takeaways from the Wizards’ preseason loss to the Brooklyn Nets.

Deni Avdija’s First Action

In his preseason NBA debut on Sunday evening, Wizards rookie Deni Avdija did not miss. Through the first half of play, Avdija tallied eight points on 3/3 shooting, capped off by a buzzer-beating free-throw line floater that drew a high-five from newest Wizard Russell Westbrook on the bench.

Avdija’s hot hand carried over into the second half with another three-point bomb just seconds into the third quarter, coupled with multiple confident looks at the rim for the rookie. Avdija finished his NBA debut with 15 points on 6/6 shooting, two assists, and four rebounds in only 24 minutes of play. It was an impressive shooting display for the 6’9 forward from Israel.

In addition to his perfect shooting numbers, Avdija also showed his passing prowess throughout the contest. With about 5 minutes left in the first quarter, Avdija collected a rebound, pushed the ball up the court, and split the defense with a bounce pass to a cutting Moritz Wagner for a right-hand slam. With Avdija on the court, the Wizards had a +6 plus/minus in a game where they trailed for nearly the entire contest.  As Wizards role players continue to battle for minutes throughout the preseason, Avdija certainly made his case for an increased role with his efficient play. It was just one (preseason) game, but Avdija’s talent shone through on Sunday evening.