There’s a reason the Cleveland Cavaliers handed big man Jarrett Allen a $100 million extension. It was for nights like Monday when he came up against the reigning league MVP in Nikola Jokic. Cavs head coach J.B. Bickerstaff told Allen that he’ll be tasked with handling the Joker and needless to say, he responded in fine fashion in a 99-87 victory.
Allen finished the night with 21 points, 16 rebounds, and two assists for the Cavs while doing a great job of containing Jokic. Although the Serbian still finished with 24 points and 19 boards, Allen forced him to make six turnovers throughout the contest. The Nuggets finished with a dismal 23% clip from downtown and just 40.7% from the field, much in part to their center’s defensive tenacity.
Bickerstaff applauded Allen post-game and made it clear that he has the utmost belief in him. Via Cleveland.com:
“It’s hard to put in words, but Jarrett Allen has my full trust,” Bickerstaff said. “He has my full trust that what the Cavs are doing is more important than anything that could happen for him individually. And that comes from time spent last year, a lot of conversations, a lot of time over the summer. But he’s just made that way. He has accepted every challenge without asking for anything. He never has once come to me and been like, ‘Hey J.B. I need the ball more,’ or ‘J.B., I need you to run this play for me’ or anything like that. The only thing that Jarrett does is go out and try to help his team win — whatever that looks like.”
The Cavs have a solid young core right now, but Jarrett Allen is undoubtedly one of the most important pieces. When you can go toe to toe with the best player in the league from last season, that has to mean something.