Two seasons ago when the Brooklyn Nets acquired James Harden from the Houston Rockets, the Cleveland Cavaliers got involved to help make everything work, but little did they know it would yield them a very integral player.
They received center Jarrett Allen in the deal, and last season he had a career season, averaging 16.1 points, 10.8 rebounds, and 1.3 blocked shots while making the All-Star team for the first time.
Jarrett Allen on Bol Bol's head😤 pic.twitter.com/gUe5OoFAY6
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) October 27, 2022
He has missed the Cavs’ last two games with an ankle injury, and they are missing him badly.
Cleveland Is Having Trouble On The Boards Without Allen
On the season as a whole, the Cavs rank first in defensive rebound percentage according to basketball-reference.com, but in the two games Allen has missed, they are having problems securing rebounds.
On Wednesday versus the Milwaukee Bucks, they got out-rebounded 52-34, and three days earlier, the Minnesota Timberwolves had a 47-40 advantage over them on the boards.
Legendary coach Pat Riley has a saying: “No rebounds, no rings,” and that one-liner is starting to ring true for Cleveland.
Cleveland’s Defense Has Regressed Without Allen
Before this five-game slide, the Cavs were looking like one of the best defensive teams in basketball.
But they allowed Milwaukee to shoot 41.0 percent from 3-point range, while the Timberwolves threw in 50 percent of their attempts from beyond the arc on Sunday.
Without Allen, Cleveland doesn’t have as much shot blocking in the middle, which means its perimeter defenders can’t take as many risks or play their men as closely since there isn’t as much help-side rim protection when they get beat.