3. Jarrett Allen: The work is in progress
Opening night was a showcase for Brooklyn Nets center Jarrett Allen on many levels.
For the second time in nine days, Allen met former Slam Dunk Contest champion Blake Griffin while Griffin was attempting to throw down a dunk. For the second time in nine days, Allen erased said dunk attempt with much authority.
Allen blocked another shot by Griffin later and the five-time All-Star spent a significant portion of the first half altering shots on his own if he saw Allen in the same area code.
The 20-year-old big man had a mostly outstanding first half, going 5-for-8 and going into the break with 15 points, six rebounds and three blocks.
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But Pistons coach Dwane Casey made some adjustments at the defensive end at halftime, sending Drummond out to cover Allen closely on the outside, which had the effect of gumming up the works in the Nets’ 5-out set for awhile.
After Brooklyn made just 3-of-13 from 3-point range in the first half — 1-of-10 from players not named “Jarrett Allen” — Casey opted to cover Allen and make the other Nets shoot the deep ball.
Brooklyn didn’t rise to the challenge, making only 2-of-14 from the land of 3 after intermission.
Defensively in the second half, Allen’s inexperience was exploited. As Blake Griffin backed down Jared Dudley so often I’ll be seeing it in my sleep for a few days, Allen was often caught in between, hesitating before coming out to challenge Griffin and leaving himself unable to recover.
That left Drummond alone on the offensive glass far too often and he capitalized — nine of his 20 rebounds were on the offensive end, with six of those after the halftime break.
Allen had a strong game overall and looked like an All-Star candidate in the first half. But the second half showed that his education is an ongoing process.