Jarrett Allen made a big impression in Game 3 against the Toronto Raptors without making a shot, or taking one for that matter.
Allen grabbed 17 rebounds in 32 minutes and picked up three assists, kicking out to shooters off his five offense rebounds rather than forcing a shot back up in a crowd. Allen’s relentlessness stood out to Tyler Johnson, and he mentioned it on Friday night after the game.
“We got into a timeout in the third quarter and I told him how unselfish he was being throughout the entire game, because you know a guy of his caliber could easily be frustrated and angry and be more demonstrative about not getting some field goal attempts,” said Johnson. “But the guy continued to screen, continued to get guys open, continued to get offensive boards, and where you can find yourself just going up and taking shots off of those, he continued to kick it out, continued to make the right basketball play. So as far as respect goes, I already had a lot for him, but after today I see just truly how unselfish he is and how much he wants to make the right basketball play, so I have respect for that guy.”
Allen became the fourth player in Nets history to post consecutive games of 15 or more rebounds in the playoffs, and it was his sixth consecutive game with double-figure rebounds. He’s averaging 12.2 rebounds and 3.7 assists per game since the Nets resumed play in Orlando. But he was also averaging 15.4 points per game going into Friday’s Game 3, and the Nets faltered without being able to involve him offensively.
They’d like to correct that in Sunday’s game 4 against the Raptors.
“We talked about it today in our walkthrough, the ability for him to get some touches early in the game hopefully will set the tone,” said head coach Jacque Vaughn. “I think overall watching the film there were some opportunity where even on offensive rebounds where he could’ve taken it up himself, chose to kick out and try to get us a quality shot. So just a byproduct really of how the game unfolded.”
NETS CHECK IN ON JOE HARRIS
Jacque Vaughn has said that Joe Harris would be unavailable for Games 3 and 4 after he left the NBA Campus due to a non-medical personal issue following Game 2. The Nets head coach said Saturday there was nothing set about Harris’ status for a potential Game 5.
“We haven’t even assessed that yet,” said Vaughn. “My conversations with him were just checking on him to make sure that he was good and to let him know that we’re here for him when needed. I think the biggest task right now is for us to extend the series, and so to get a win and see what happens afterwards.”
Vaughn said in checking in with Harris that Harris’ concern was for his teammates and their situation, offering encouragement. Garrett Temple has also been in touch with Harris.
“It’s very difficult. As athletes, we go through this a decent amount. We have lives outside of this game, lives that are more important than this game,” said Temple. “And I talked to him about it the day before he left, I told him he definitely needs to go take care of business, take care of his family, take as much time as he needs. We’re gonna go do what we need to do without him, but he needs to go take care of home. I’ve talked to him since, and just continued to tell him I’m praying for him and his family. Let him know that I’m here for him if he needs me, but yeah, once you get on that court, you try to focus on basketball. There are things that go on in our lives that may have our minds somewhere else sometimes. And obviously a guy like Joe Harris is probably the nicest guy on our team, so when he’s going through something like he’s going through, you definitely think about that. Again, my thoughts and prayers go out to him and his family while they go through this time.”
TYLER JOHNSON’S PLAYOFF HIGH
Tyler Johnson’s 23 points on Friday were a career playoff high. Johnson moved back into the starting lineup with the absence of Joe Harris, having previously started four of Brooklyn’s eight games during the seeding round.
Johnson, who joined the Nets for the NBA restart after being signed in June, also scored 21 in a seeding round win over the LA Clippers. He’s averaging 15.3 points in nine games as a Net.
“He’s really taken advantage of it, the playing different roles for us off the bench, starting, being a facilitator, being able to score the basketball like he did last game,” said Jacque Vaughn. “So it’s given us a chance to see him as a basketball player again, how he is around his teammates, his approach to the game, his care factor, his competitive spirit. So unless he was with us we wouldn’t be able to see that. So that’s been the most revealing part about it.”
TRAILING TORONTO 3-0
The Nets go into Sunday’s Game 4 trailing the defending champion Toronto Raptors 3-0.
“Have the courage to go out and do something that’s uncomfortable,” said Garrett Temple of Jacque Vaughn’s message. “Fight when the odds are against us, have the courage to focus on this one game and focus on winning this one game. Not worried about anything else, not worried about what may or may not happen but focusing on this one game, even if it’s not the natural human reaction, but that’s what we need to do.”