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Now, Jarrett Allen is starting to dominate

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Brooklyn Nets v Cleveland Cavaliers Photo by David Liam Kyle/NBAE via Getty Images

There will be players in this year’s Draft who will be older than Jarrett Allen. He doesn’t turn 22 until April and the Draft is in June. He’s that young even though he’s now in his third year as an NBA center.

The promise that put him at No. 8 in the Nets mock draft back in 2017 is now being fulfilled. Not only is Allen playing well. He is dominating. In the Nets four game winning streak, the 6’11” center is averaging 18.3 points and 14.3 rebounds. He’s posted double-doubles in five of the last seven games. For the season, he’s now averaging a double-double, 11.5 points and 10.1 boards ... and leading the league in shooting percentage at 67.9 percent. That’s what a 22-point, 21-rebound, 9-of-10 shooting night will do for you.

Putting statistics aside, the Texas product is playing with a new confidence, You could see it Monday night with the crank dunk, with the late block of Jordan Clarkson, with the career-high nine offensive rebounds, more than one of them ripped from a pack of Cavaliers.

Larry Nance Jr., who would regularly dominate Allen in past years, finished with 20 and 10, nice numbers, but even his coach knew it was the Nets center who was the deciding factor in the contest.

“Their rim protection was the difference-maker in the game,” Cleveland coach John Beilein said. “We could get to the rim, but we couldn’t finish there all day long.”

Similarly, Allen made it clear who’s the best 21-year-old center in New York the night before, despite what Mitchell Robinson says. Allen finished that game with 18 points and 10 rebounds to Robinson’s six and three. And the Knick center, a week older than Allen, once again showed his immaturity, fouling out late in the game and getting a technical on top of that.

Spencer Dinwiddie talked about the Clarkson block, the second most important play of the night Monday. It prevented a go-ahead basket with 8.9 seconds remaining.

Jordan was driving,” Dinwiddie recounted. “GT was doing a good job of staying on his hip, trying to make it tough for him. He gave a little stutter step, continued to go to the basket, shot a floater. JA does what he does best, came weak side, punched it. I would have liked if he just caught it really. We’ll save that for another time.”

“I should have kept in inbounds, but I got a little excited,” Allen said. “I knew I had to be a little bit careful and not foul.”

Allen, ever humble, added that he was just glad to make it through the night on a back-to-back.

“For sure it was a little bit of running on fumes. We were all tired from the game before and now we all had to play hard,” Allen said. “The last couple minutes were the hardest part of the game. Just at the end we just had to play with what we’re dealt.”

Like Beilein, Allen’s own coach knew how important his contribution had been.

Jarrett Allen is playing fantastic,” said Kenny Atkinson. “The rebounds are a pleasant surprise; but his overall game — even catching it in the half-roll and a couple nice passes. We just did a great job getting to the rim tonight.”

Increasingly, Allen is the starting center with DeAndre Jordan coming off the bench. Jordan was out with an ankle tweak Monday. So, Allen played a eight more minutes, than he’s used to (34) ... and met the challenge.

How much better can he get? Sky’s the limit, say the Nets. Dinwiddie says he’s an all-star in the making. His former back-up, Ed Davis, said he could be a $100 million man. The Nets have always believed in Allen when others doubted him.

His coach thinks he can go a lot higher. He does what he’s asked to do. No fuss, no bother.

“I was kind of on him, quite honestly,” said Atkinson recently, talking about how, like others, took some time to get in the swing of things. “He responds. You say, ‘hey, you’re not consistent enough.’ He responded, ‘OK, I’ll become more consistent coach,’ and he becomes more consistent. It’s amazing. Just give him a task and he does it.

“I think he’s still a young guy learning the game and still progressing. But the rebounding, it keeps improving and the offensive rebounding was a big boon to us last game. We need that from him. We need it more consistently.

“There’s a lot more in Jarrett Allen. I think he can give us more.”