Jarrett Allen’s monster Nets outing tees up homecoming

NEW ORLEANS — Jarrett Allen had one of the best games of his NBA career Tuesday. A day later, he not only will enjoy a homecoming, but will have his number retired at his Texas high school.

Allen had 12 points, 14 rebounds and matched a career-high six blocked shots to lead the Nets to a come-from-behind 108-101 overtime win over the Pelicans. The Nets play Thursday at San Antonio, roughly an hour-and-a-half from his Austin home.

“My plan for my day is spend some time with my family. Not everybody gets an opportunity during the season to go home,” Allen said. “Then after that go straight to the high school and say hi to all my old teachers, the coach, my old friends.”

Allen played at St. Stephen’s Episcopal School for his last three high-school seasons and went on to win two SPC championships. The McDonald’s All-American — who stayed locally to play at Texas — will have his jersey retired in a ceremony Wednesday.

“It means a lot,” Allen said. “When I was there I didn’t even think that this was going to be a possibility. But now I’m grateful for them. I owe them a lot more than just having my jersey up there.”

The quiet Allen will have to come out of his comfort zone to give an acceptance speech.

“I’m going to give a little bit of a thank you,” said Allen. “I’m not much of a speech guy, but you’ve got to say thank you.”

Garrett Temple had a homecoming of his own. He was a legacy player at LSU, where his father was the first black player on the basketball team.

Kenny Atkinson praised the defense, physicality and energy David Nwaba has provided, but noted the defensive-minded wing has also been confident shooting the ball.

Nwaba added 12 points off the bench Tuesday, shooting 5-for-7.

After giving up 40 points to Brandon Ingram in their meeting in Brooklyn, the Nets held him to 22 on 7 of 23 shooting. Much of that defense was from Taurean Prince, who shoot horribly himself, scoring three points on 1-of-9 from the floor.

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Wilson Chandler will get thrown into Nets game plan quickly

The Nets made room for Wilson Chandler and now he’ll have to prove he’s worth the space.

Iman Shumpert, after a short but impactful tenure with the Nets, was waived Thursday because of Chandler’s imminent season debut following a 25-game PED suspension. Pumping life back into an inert defense, Shumpert helped set a new standard for the Nets, who went 9-4 with him in the rotation.

But it became clear that the prior commitment to Chandler, who was signed to a one-year, veteran-minimum contract in July, was the priority. And even though the Nets just let their defensive catalyst walk out the door, the Nets are confident in what they’ll get from Chandler.

No one more so than coach Kenny Atkinson, who began his coaching career as an assistant under Mike D’Antoni with the Knicks in 2008, the year after the organization drafted Chandler. Atkinson and Chandler spent parts of three seasons together before Chandler was traded to the Nuggets in February 2011 as part of the blockbuster deal that brought Carmelo Anthony to New York.

“He’s gotten a lot stronger than when we first had him with the Knicks,” Atkinson said following practice Friday. “That wasn’t his kind of forte, but now he’s a lot stronger. He’s a lot more calm I think in terms of his demeanor. I think he’s a calm vet. His game, I feel really confident about his game, I know it really well. I think that’s going to make the transition easier.”

wilson chandler nets ped return suspension
Wilson ChandlerGetty Images

Atkinson said earlier in the week that Chandler would be “thrown to the wolves” once he becomes eligible for Sunday’s matchup against the 76ers. And despite uncertainty over how the team is going to respond without Shumpert’s defensive prowess, Atkinson thinks Chandler will fill that void.

“He has a tremendously simple game and that’s a good thing, and understands the system,” Atkinson said. “He was playing with us today, and it’s like seamless. He’s one of those 4, 3, 2s, doesn’t matter, he can play any of those positions. Last thing is defense. We talk about losing Shump, but we’re gaining a guy that is a really good defender in this league.”

Chandler is coming off a season split between the 76ers and the Clippers after he began the 2018-19 campaign on the bench in Philadelphia with a hamstring injury. The 6-foot-8, 235-pound forward started 32 of 36 games for Philadelphia before he was traded to Los Angeles, where he logged a mere 15 games.

The 32-year-old exudes the same type of veteran presence that Shumpert had, which Atkinson believes will serve the younger players well. Joe Harris described Chandler as a “low-maintenance player” earlier in the week and expanded upon that Friday.

“Just in the sense where he just comes in and does his job, he’s not one of these guys that are super ball-dominant,” Harris said. “He’s been super-efficient over the course of his NBA career. You can always count on him to make the smaller plays, the glue-guy type plays.”

It has yet to be seen how Chandler will impact the Nets, who have seemingly found a groove despite playing without Kyrie Irving (shoulder impingement) and Caris LeVert (thumb surgery). Winners of eight of their past 12 games, the Nets will have a lot of adjusting to do when those players become healthy and Chandler is officially eligible.

And for a team that has excelled without two key players, there’s no telling how any rotation movement will impact their rhythm.

“It’s been great having him around,” Jarrett Allen said of Chandler. “He’s integrated well even though he’s not playing, it’s always tough. But like y’all heard Kenny say, we’re throwing him to the wolves this weekend. I think he’s finally ready to get in the lineup.”

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