Nearly three years ago, Jarrett Allen was traded by the Brooklyn Nets as part of a four-team deal that landed James Harden from the Houston Rockets.
While Harden has since moved on from the Nets, Allen has emerged as a consistent double-double threat with the Cleveland Cavaliers.
The center will look for his eighth consecutive double-double on Thursday when his Cavaliers face the Nets as part of the NBA’s Global Games in Paris.
Cleveland fell to one game over .500 on Dec. 14 when it lost Darius Garland to a broken jaw and Evan Mobley to left knee surgery but has since gone 8-3 over its past 11 games. In those games, Allen is averaging 19.4 points on 66.7 percent shooting and 13.2 rebounds.
The latest big performance was Sunday when he collected 29 points and 16 rebounds in a 117-115 home win over the San Antonio Spurs while defending top overall pick Victor Wembanyama.
For the season, the 25-year-old Allen is averaging 14.8 points and 9.9 rebounds with a dozen double-doubles in 31 games.
“I’m hard-pressed to find a guy, a big guy, who’s playing better than Jarrett Allen,” Cavs coach J.B. Bickerstaff said. “I think we all need to take a serious look at his All-Star accolades because I don’t know many big guys, if any, that are playing better than him right now.”
Besides Allen’s latest big performance, former Net Caris LeVert added 23 points against the Spurs and is averaging 21.7 over his past four games. Sam Merrill contributed 18 points off the bench and Donovan Mitchell added 17.
“We’re headed in the right direction,” Bickerstaff said. “Obviously we’ve had some ups and downs with injuries and those types of things but what you’ve seen is the guys have come together.”
The Nets, meanwhile, will be playing their eighth international regular-season game in the midst of their worst stretch of the season.
Brooklyn was 13-10 following its four-point win in Phoenix on Dec. 13 but has experienced a 3-11 slide since then. In that span, the Nets have allowed at least 120 points eight times.
The latest was a frustrating 134-127 overtime home loss against the Portland Trail Blazers on Sunday. Brooklyn was outscored 49-34 in the fourth quarter and overtime.
Brooklyn also wasted a strong game by Mikal Bridges, who scored 42 points after being held to under 25 in each of his previous seven contests.
“I think the energy of the fans and playing a game that’s a little bit different than usual adds extra motivation, for sure,” Brooklyn’s Spencer Dinwiddie said after practice Tuesday. “But we need the win regardless of where we are in the season and just understanding that every game matters.”
Cleveland has won the past three meetings by a combined nine points, including a season-opening 114-113 win in Brooklyn on Oct. 25 when Mitchell scored 27 and hit the go-ahead 3-pointer with 12 seconds left.
–Field Level Media
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