Bickerstaff on Allen: ‘At 22 years old, he’s not near his potential ceiling yet’

When the Cavaliers acquired C Jarrett Allen from the Brooklyn Nets in January, the goal was for the 22-year-old Allen to be one of the building blocks for this team, and since becoming a starter on February 14 after the team decided to hold out Andre Drummond for a possible trade, Allen has been balling.

In the last six games, including last night’s home victory over the Rockets, Allen is averaging 18.8 points, 13.8 rebounds, and 2.3 blocks per game.

On Wednesday night against Houston, Allen was 10/11 from the field and tied his career-high in points with 26. Allen also added 18 rebounds, four blocks, and a highlight-reel dunk, which, according to head coach J.B. Bickerstaff, reminded him of the great Julius Erving.

“It’s funny, as it was happening,” Bickerstaff said. “I had a flashback of ABA Dr. J dribbling it coast-to-coast and taking off with the fro and dunking.” 

Allen added on the dunk: “I jumped damn-near from the free throw line. I got the rebound; I took it from Isaac(Okoro), and I took two dribbles. and I see people on my side, I see (Victor)Oladipo. I did not know if he was going to help or not, but by the time I took my last dribble at the three-point line, the ball was going through the hoop.”

Bickerstaff is excited about Allen, and he believes the sky’s the limit.

“At 22 years old, he’s not near his potential ceiling yet,” Bickerstaff said. “That’s the part I’m most excited about. He knows that there’s room for growth from him. There’s a high ceiling for him. He’s willing to put in the work, and he’s willing to try it. He’s trying; he’s not just staying in his box.”

With the Cavaliers, Allen has a much bigger role and more of an opportunity to showcase his offensive skills, which he has embraced.

“Here, I am able to come here with a young team and have my role, and it is bigger,” Allen said. “And I’m willing to step up and take that challenge.”

Allen can become a restricted free agent at the end of the season, so Cleveland can match if he gets an offer elsewhere. Therefore, unless something off the wall happens, Allen will probably be in Cleveland for years to come, which is a good thing.

Cavs’ Jarrett Allen: ‘I think we are looking too down on ourselves’

During the Cavaliers’ 10-game losing streak, Cleveland has gone up against playoff teams and teams that were just better than them. However, on Sunday night, Cleveland had a game that appeared to be very winnable on paper. The Oklahoma City Thunder(12-18) were in town riding a three-game losing streak, but OKC got a much-needed victory on this night.

The Thunder led by as many 20 points against Cleveland(10-21) and would defeat the Cavaliers 117-101 at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse. OKC’s Shai Gilgeous-Alexander had a game-high 31 points as the Thunder had six players in double-figures on Sunday night. Collin Sexton had a team-high 27 points for Cleveland. 

“I thought it was lost in the physicality department,”  Cavaliers head coach J.B. Bickerstaff said after the game. “Too often, they went one-on-one situations and broke us down and got into the paint… We gotta do a better job competing on the ball. We gotta do a better job of keeping our man in front of us.”

Cavs C Jarrett Allen, who had 26 points(11-11 from the field) and 17 rebounds against OKC, looked at this game as an opportunity to break the losing streak. 

“We’re on a 10-game losing streak now,” Allen said. “These are one of the nights where you look across and say,  ‘Yeah, “I can guard this man; we can beat this team. We can break this streak.'”

Allen believes the Cavaliers have to stay positive, and he thinks Cleveland can turn things around. 

“I think we are looking too down on ourselves,” he said. “Things like this happen. Teams go on losing streaks. I’ve been on losing streaks, eight in a row, and then we came back and won eight in a row. It’s easy to look inward and be like, ‘Man, can we really do this?’ It’s the NBA. We’re all in this place for a reason. We all know how to play basketball; we all know how to play defense, all the fundamentals. If we get back to that, we can be back on top.”

This was a bad loss for the Cavs and probably the worst loss of this 10-game losing streak. It does not help that they are playing without a viable power forward with Kevin Love and Larry Nance Jr. both out. However, this is the roster that they have right now, and they have to make a commitment on the defensive end if they want to turn it around. They made that commitment earlier in the season, and it led to success. Now, that defensive commitment is gone.

The road to respectability in the NBA is long, and the Cavs continue to travel that long, hard road. 

Notes:

According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Allen became the first player in Cavaliers history to tally at least 25-plus points and 15-plus rebounds while having a perfect field goal percentage in a single game.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cavs’ Bickerstaff on Murray’s 50 points: ‘Guys in this league have nights like this, and we seen this from him before’

The Cavaliers(10-20) finally were able to get back home after an 0-5 west coast trip, but unfortunately for them, it did not matter. The Cavs fell to the Denver Nuggets 120-103 at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse. Cleveland has now lost nine straight games.

Friday’s win for Denver(16-13) was all about Jamal Murray, who shot 21-25 from the field, including 8-10 from three-point range to score a regular-season career-high 50 points. According to the Denver Nuggets, Murray became the first player in NBA history to have 50-plus points, 8-plus threes, and 80-plus field goal percentage in a single game in NBA history. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Murray also became the first player to score 50 points without a one free throw attempt. 

“I was just making my shots,” Murray said after the game. “It’s kind of cool to make history. It’s a cool stat.”

Cavaliers Jarrett Allen, who scored 20 points and 10 rebounds on Friday night, added about Murray: “It was like we were back in the bubble. He only missed only four shots, and one of them was from half-court… Kudos to him for being locked in and just going crazy on us.”

Cleveland had no answers for Murray, and according to their head coach J.B. Bickerstaff, Murray just had one of the nights.

“He made some difficult shots,” Cavaliers head coach J.B. Bickerstaff said after the game. Contested, challenged shots. Guys in this league have nights like this, and we seen this from him before.”

The last time these two teams played, Cleveland was blown out 133-95, but despite Murray’s play on Friday night, the Cavaliers battled, which pleased Bickerstaff.

“I thought we competed. We made some mistakes, obviously,” Bickerstaff said. “But, I did think we competed for the majority of the night, so that’s a step in the right direction.”

Cleveland showed fight on Friday night and played hard throughout the whole game, but sometimes you run into teams and players that are rolling, and Murray just had one of those nights. They have three games left on their four-game homestand, and they get back at it on Sunday night against the Thunder.

Notes:

Nikola Jokic recorded a triple-double for Denver on Friday night with 16 points, 12 rebounds, and 10 assists.

Collin Sexton led the way for the Cavs with 23 points.

 

 

Cavs’ Bickerstaff on win over Minnesota: ‘They showed a pride in each other’

Coming into the second game of their back-to-back with the Minnesota Timberwolves, the Cavaliers were without their top two frontcourt players in Andre Drummond(back) and Larry Nance Jr.(wrist), but fortunately for Cleveland, they have depth.

Newly-acquired center Jarrett Allen, who made his first start for Cleveland for the injured Drummond, had 23 points, 18 rebounds, and five blocks. Collin Sexton had a game-high 26 points as the Cavaliers defeated Minnesota 100-98 at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse on Monday night.

The Timberwolves defeated Cleveland 109-104 on Sunday night in Minnesota, but on Monday, the Cavaliers were a different team, and their head coach J.B. Bickerstaff liked what he saw.

“They showed a pride in each other,” Cavs head coach J.B Bickerstaff said after the game. “They showed commitment to who we are and what we believe in, and to be a few bodies down and still figure out a way to go get a win and scrap it out, wasn’t easy.”

Allen was not happy with the team’s effort on Sunday night, but he loved the energy the team played with on Monday night.

“That was just unacceptable for how the Cleveland Cavaliers play,” Allen said. “We play with energy, we play unselfish, and we’re always ready to give it our all, and that’s what we did tonight.”

After committing 19 turnovers on Sunday night, Cavs PG Darius Garland felt the team beat themselves. On Monday night, Garland, who had four turnovers in Sunday’s loss to Minnesota, bounced back with 18 points, 11 assists, and only two turnovers. Bickerstaff was happy with what he saw out of Garland. 

“When you’re facilitating the ball, and you’re making everybody better and making everybody feel like they are apart of it, and then, you’re able to make those daggers, your status grows,” Bickerstaff said. “And I think that’s where Darius is heading. He’ll get there to the level of those elite guards if he continues to do what he did tonight.”

Garland added: “I just want the ball in my hands so that I can make plays for everybody else. Just try to make the right reads.”

Credit to this young Cavs’ team for bouncing back the way they did on Monday night, which was expected when you consider this team’s mental makeup. Now, they have to find ways to be more consistent going forward. 

Ex-Nets Allen, Prince say they would’ve done the Harden deal

Last week, the Cleveland Cavaliers acquired Jarrett Allen and Taurean Prince in a three-team deal with the Rockets and Nets that sent James Harden to Brooklyn. In the deal for Harden, Houston received forward Caris LeVert(sent to Indy for Victor Oladipo), forward Rodions Kurucs, three first round draft picks, and the rights to swap four first round draft picks from Brooklyn.

Obviously, for the Nets, it’s all about winning a championship right now. Brooklyn has a former MVP and a two-time NBA champion in Kevin Durant, another champion in Kyrie Irving, and now they have another former MVP in Harden. With the addition of Harden, the Nets are clearly one the favorites to come out of the Eastern Conference and possibly win an NBA title. 

Anytime you can get your hands on a player like Harden, you find ways to make it happen, and the Nets did just that. 

According to both Allen and Prince, if they were the Nets’ general manager, they would have made the move, too.

“In all honesty, I would say I would do it. I’m not going to lie,” Allen said. “If you look at what happened with the Lakers, they did the same thing, and then the next year they went and got their ring. If I take myself out of it, I would love to stay in Brooklyn, but I understand that an opportunity like that, you have to go get it. 

Prince added: “To be completely honest, yeah. You got James Harden, who is probably one of the best scorers we’ve seen in our generation. Same with Kev(Durant), Kyrie(Irving), great point guard he is. I probably would have done the same thing.”

It’s hard to argue with the deal from the standpoint of all parties. The Nets got a big piece for a title run, Houston gets an opportunity to retool with draft picks and players, and Cleveland gets a young center in Allen. So it’s clear, Allen and Prince might have an NBA front office job waiting for them when they retire. Maybe not, but it was a deal the Nets could not pass up.

Watch below as Allen and Prince talk Harden trade:

Cavs’ GM is excited about the acquisition of Jarrett Allen

The Cleveland Cavaliers have acquired center Jarrett Allen and forward Taurean Prince from the Brooklyn Nets as part of a three-team trade that also includes the Houston Rockets, the team announced on Thursday.

In exchange, Cleveland is sending guard Danté Exum and a 2022 unprotected first round draft pick via Milwaukee to Houston, and the lesser of Utah and Cleveland’s 2024 second round draft picks to Brooklyn. The Cavaliers have also acquired from Brooklyn the draft rights to Aleksandar Vezenkov, who was selected by the Nets with the 57th overall pick in the 2017 NBA Draft. 

As part of the three-team trade, the Nets are receiving guard James Harden from the Rockets. In exchange, Houston is receiving forward Caris LeVert, forward Rodions Kurucs, three first round draft picks, and the rights to swap four first round draft picks from Brooklyn. While it’s not official, it is expected that LeVert will be shipped to Indiana for Victor Oladipo.

For Cleveland, they add a young center in the 6-11 Allen. In 12 games (five starts) for the Nets this season, Allen is averaging career highs of 11.2 points on .677 shooting from the field, 10.4 rebounds, and 1.6 blocks in 26.7 minutes. The 22-year-old Allen is an excellent finisher around the basket and is a very good shot-blocker.

Cavaliers GM Koby Altman is excited about the acquisition of Allen and what he brings to the table. 

“Obviously, you build through the draft,” Altman said on Thursday. “When we started this process a couple of years ago, we knew we were going to build through the draft. Very excited about the additions we made there the last two, three years… To add a center that’s 22 years old, but that’s going into his fourth year in the league. That’s proven, that has more upside, that has all the intangibles you look for to add to your culture. To have that opportunity yesterday, we just felt was too good to pass up. 

Adding Allen, who will be a restricted free agent at the end of the season, to what the Cavs have in guys like Collin Sexton, Darius Garland, and Isaac Okoro is exciting. There is a lot of youth with a lot of upside right now in Cleveland.

Regarding the 26-year-old Prince, he will get a decent opportunity, especially with all the injuries in Cleveland. In 12 games (four starts) this season with the Nets, Prince is averaging 8.1 points and 2.8 rebounds in 18.2 minutes.

With this trade, the Cavaliers have three centers in JaVale McGee, Andre Drummond, and Allen. Drummond can become an unrestricted free agent at season’s end, so what Cleveland does there should be interesting. The 27-year-old Drummond, who has played well and is making $28.7 million this season, could be enticing for some teams because of his expiring contract, so with Allen in the mix and based on what the Cavs gave up to get Allen, it would appear that Drummond could be the odd man out in Cleveland. We’ll see how that situation plays out.

Also, on Thursday, the Cavaliers waived center Thon Maker and released guard Yogi Ferrell. Maker played in eight games with Cleveland this season, averaging 3.8 points and 2.3 rebounds in 9.5 minutes. He joined the Cavaliers in the 2020 Preseason. Ferrell (6-0, 178) was signed to a 10-day contract by Cleveland on Jan. 11 and appeared in two games for the Cavaliers this season, averaging 9.5 points, 3.0 rebounds, 2.5 assists, and 1.5 steals in 20.0 minutes.