The highlight reel play came at the outset of the Nets’ 115-110 win over the Lakers Tuesday night at Barclays Center, and even though it was just one play of hundreds, it’s fair to say that when 20-year-old Nets center Jarrett Allen blocked a raging dunk attempt by Lakers star LeBron James, it let everyone know the Nets had come to play.
“I’m going to say my quote growing up,” Allen said. “Either way, you’re going to be on the highlight. If you go up and you block it, you’re going to be on the highlight. If you’re dunked on, you’re going to be on the highlight. So, just go up and protect the rim…It’s LeBron James, so I had to go up with some extra emphasis and I ended up getting it.”
James finished with 36 points, 13 rebounds and eight assists, and he scored on several dunks. But he knew which play fans would be talking about.
“He’s in his twenties,” James said of Allen, “and I’m in my thirties. It takes me a little longer to get warmed up, but that’s fine. It happens. It’s probably all over social media, so that’s cool.”
According to ESPN Sports & Information, that was the 1,850th dunk attempt of James’ career, and it only was the ninth one that had been blocked. That struck a powerful chord with Allen.
“That’s a hell of a list to be on,” the 6-11 center said. “He’s an amazing player. I got a chance to do it, so I’m on the list forever.”
Asked if he was tempted to get out of the way when he saw James coming, Allen said, “Growing up when I wanted to come to the league, everybody was, ‘Are you going to jump when LeBron is coming at you?’ ” he said. “I was 13 years old, and I told them, ‘Yeah.’ And that was the opportunity right there, and I jumped with him.”