Deni Avdija felt LeBron James should’ve checked on him after elbowing him: ‘That got me a little bit pissed off’

Jesse Cinquini
4 Min Read
Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Washington Wizards forward Deni Avdija felt that Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James should have made sure he was okay after hitting him in the face with an elbow late in the second quarter of Wednesday’s game between the Lakers and Wizards.

Avdija recently gave an update on his status.

“My brain isn’t damaged,” he said. “So, that’s a good sign. The docs did a good job of checking on me and making sure I’m staying healthy. I got cleared in shootaround in the morning, and all went well. I was ready to play. Not a big deal.”

He also said that he doesn’t believe that there was ill will or malice behind James’ elbow.

“I don’t think he did it on purpose,” Avdija said. “I at least expected like if I get hit in the face or I hit somebody in the face, I expect to go and check on him. I felt like he didn’t do it. So, that got me a little bit pissed off. At the end of the day, it’s sports. I’m going to get hit, I don’t care, even if I get concussed. Part of it is just being a person and coming and asking, ‘How are you feeling?’. It just shows good sportsmanship. I felt like he didn’t do it, which is okay. It’s fine. I got over it.”

James and the Lakers won the game in question — which took place on April 3 — by five points.

In the matchup, Avdija totaled seven points, two rebounds, two assists and one steal on 2-of-5 shooting from the field and 1-of-2 shooting from 3-point range.

Meanwhile, James stuffed the stat sheet with 25 points, seven rebounds, nine assists and three steals on 9-of-18 shooting from the floor in about 36 minutes of action.

Los Angeles’ win over the Wizards marked the team’s third consecutive victory as well as its eighth win in its last nine games. The Lakers still sit as the No. 9 seed in the Western Conference standings but share an identical record with the Sacramento Kings — who hold the conference’s No. 8 seed and lost to the Boston Celtics by one point on Friday — at 44-33.

Four of the Lakers’ final five games of the 2023-24 regular season will come against opponents with records above the .500 mark, with the exception being when Los Angeles takes on the Memphis Grizzlies — who own the third-worst record in the Western Conference — on April 12.

The quartet of formidable teams that the Lakers will take on in the final stretch of the regular season includes the Cleveland Cavaliers, Minnesota Timberwolves, Golden State Warriors and New Orleans Pelicans.

The Lakers clearly have a difficult stretch of games ahead of them, but if they can string together some wins to end the campaign, they could very well improve their positioning in the Western Conference.

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Jesse is a sports journalist with extensive experience covering the NBA. He has worked as a staff writer covering the Lakers’ dreaded rivals, the Boston Celtics, for SB Nation. He has also covered the New York Knicks for The Knicks Wall.