‘Not Afraid of Anybody’: Wizards’ Deni Avdija Opens Up on Guarding LeBron James

Published 02/23/2021, 7:30 AM EST
Feb 22, 2021; Los Angeles, California, USA; Washington Wizards forward Deni Avdija (9) scores a three point basket against the Los Angeles Lakers during the second half at Staples Center. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports


The Washington Wizards are on a roll. They got their fifth win in a row last night, coming against the LeBron James-led Lakers. They were taken to overtime, but they were resilient and it paid off.

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LeBron tried his best, but the Wizards were still able to come away with the win. Rookie Deni Avdija had an excellent game on both ends and showed his clutch ability as well. On defense, the Wizards entrusted him with the responsibility of guarding LeBron, and he did a brilliant job. He put the clamps on the four-time MVP and gave him a tough time right from the start.

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Avdija was asked how it was to defend LeBron. “I’m not afraid of anybody, so I’m just gonna take the challenge every time,” he said in the post-game interview.“For me, the player I’m guarding, I take seriously [as an] equal. Just stepped up, took the challenge, and played my defense. I guess he had a hard time, so that’s good.”

Deni Avdija comes up with two clutch threes

Throughout the game, Avdija took just five shots and made three. Despite being underutilized, he showed up when the team needed him. He made two threes, and both came in the fourth quarter.

The first one was during the start of the fourth quarter. He showed some excellent movement and took advantage of the Lakers’ slow defense and was ready in the perfect position. As soon as Russell Westbrook handed him the rock, he didn’t hesitate before burying the shot.

The second three-pointer came in the last minute, and it was another Westbrook assist. LeBron made the mistake of leaving him wide open in the corner, and Russ picked him out perfectly. The Lakers could just watch the ball land in the net, as Avdija sunk his second three of the game.

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LeBron James and co in trouble

While the Wizards are enjoying their streak now, the Lakers have just one win in their last five games. It is only going to get worse for them, as they are now up against the Utah Jazz in their next game. They have been the best team in the league by far, and the Lakers being on the road only makes it tougher for them.

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Feb 22, 2021; Los Angeles, California, USA; Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James (23) moves the ball against Washington Wizards forward Rui Hachimura (8) during the second half at Staples Center. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

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Aaron Mathew

1650 articles

Aaron Mathew is a sports analyst at EssentiallySports. A graduate in Mass Media from Xavier’s College, Aaron has been a part of EssentiallySports since May 2020 where he covers both NBA and NCAA basketball news, and has also covered NBA 2K. In the past, Aaron has worked at the Sports Desk of Mumbai Mirror.

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