Was Jarrett Allen’s praise of Orlando’s head coach a slight shot at J.B. Bickerstaff?

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David Richard-USA TODAY Sports

The Cleveland Cavaliers fell back down to Earth in Game 3 of their series against the Orlando Magic, losing the matchup 121-83. Following the game, star big man Jarrett Allen issued heavy praise for Magic head coach Jamahl Mosley.

The praise was so effusive that it forced The Athletic’s Joe Vardon to question whether or not the praise was a veiled shot at Allen’s own skipper, Cavs head coach J.B. Bickerstaff.

“You could tell that (Magic coach) Jamahl Mosley did an excellent job planning for this game,” said Allen. “There’s times when I was just in the corner, I stood in the corner last game, but, just overall, you could see tiny differences that accumulate into a lot.”

Vardon then contributed a bit of his own opinion regarding the matter.

“In the previous decade with the Cavs, if a star player had, after a loss, praised the opposing coach by name…well, I don’t have to tell you how it would have been interpreted,” he wrote. “I don’t know if Allen was prodding his coach, J.B. Bickerstaff, for adjustments, and I don’t know what the point was about Allen standing in the corner.”

Allen added to his initial statement and certainly seemed to take some responsibility for the loss.

“We felt like we were a step behind every single thing that they did,” Allen said. “Whether there was someone driving to the rim, me standing in the paint, or just rebounding the ball. We were just a little slow.”

The bad news is that the Cavs dropped the game. The good news is that it’s just one game, and the Cavs are still in control of the series, leading 2-1.

Game 4 will take place on Saturday afternoon in Orlando, and a Cavs win would put them in total control of the series heading back to Cleveland. So far in the series, Allen is putting up a solid 15.7 points, 15.3 rebounds, 1.7 assists, 1.3 steals and 1.3 blocks per game. He’s living up to his reputation of being a defensive stopper. However, he can’t do it all alone.

If the Cavs want to get back into the win column on Saturday, the team’s leaders are going to have to step up. In Game 3, guards Darius Garland and Donovan Mitchell played poorly.

Garland finished with just five points, six assists and three boards. Mitchell did slightly better with 13 points, seven assists and five rebounds. The Cavs are going to have difficulty winning any game in which the duo has that little impact.

Surely, the two will come into Game 4 highly motivated to bring more to the court. That should help the Cavs’ chances of getting a win. Hopefully, that will also put an end to any perceived criticism of Bickerstaff.

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Jonathan is a freelance writer, filmmaker, and passionate fan of the NBA. In the past Jonathan has covered politics, entertainment, travel, and more. He is a proud contributor of Cavaliers Nation.