Jarrett Allen on Evan Mobley absence: ‘It’s time for me just to step up’

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Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

Cleveland Cavaliers big man Jarrett Allen recently said that he needs to step up his game in the wake of Evan Mobley going down with an ankle injury.

“It’s time for me just to step up in our position and try to help the team win,” Allen said.

“For me, it’s just trying to fill the hole where he left [off]. Whether it’s dribble handoffs, finding people on the back door, just trying to do whatever he can. I know I’m not gonna get to that level of what he does, but any little bit I can do helps.”

The 22-year-old sustained the injury in the second half of Cleveland’s win over the Boston Celtics on Tuesday. The Cavaliers managed to snap the Celtics’ 11-game winning streak and hand the team its first loss since Feb. 1.

Mobley hasn’t been a consistent presence in the Cavaliers’ lineup in his third season with the team.

So far during the 2023-24 regular season, he has appeared in only 38 of Cleveland’s 62 regular-season games and is averaging 15.6 points, 10.2 rebounds and 3.1 assists per game while shooting 57.8 percent from the field and 31.4 percent from 3-point range.

Allen certainly stepped up in Mobley’s absence in the Cavaliers’ matchup against the Atlanta Hawks on March 6. The 25-year-old big man ended up with 18 points, 19 rebounds, three assists and one block on 7-of-11 shooting from the floor.

But his contributions as a scorer and rebounder weren’t enough to lead the Cavaliers to a victory, as Cleveland fell to the Hawks by 11 points on Wednesday, which marked the team’s second loss in its last three games.

Unlike Mobley, Allen has suited up in the majority of Cleveland’s games so far this season. He has logged 57 appearances since the start of the 2023-24 regular season and is averaging 15.9 points, 10.6 rebounds and 2.7 assists per game on 63.2 percent shooting from the floor and 73.4 percent from the charity stripe.

Allen might need to have several more performances like the one he had against the Hawks between now and the end of the regular season if the Cavaliers want to beat out the Milwaukee Bucks for the No. 2 seed in the Eastern Conference standings. The Bucks currently hold a 41-22 record, while the Cavaliers are right behind them with a record of 40-22.

The Cavaliers and Allen will attempt to get back in the win column when they host the Minnesota Timberwolves at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse on Friday.

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Jesse is a sports journalist with extensive experience covering the NBA. He has worked as a staff writer at SB Nation’s CelticsBlog and The Knicks Wall.