The league announced Monday that Allen received 53 points in the voting, while the Miami Heat star had 52. Each player had 25 first-team votes from the NBA's 30 head coaches.
"We pride ourselves on defence here," said James. "I'm one of the catalysts, as far as taking that side of the ball very seriously. We all do. I'm happy to be rewarded with such an honour to be part of First Team All-Defence.
"Any time you're awarded anything individually, it's an honour."
"Joakim, obviously (I'm) very pleased with that," said Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau. "I think down the road, Joakim has a very good chance of being defensive player of the year. His ability to defend all five positions, every aspect of the game -- individual defence, team defence, rebounding, multiple effort ... a very unique player."
Marc Gasol, who was the NBA's defensive player of the year, made the second team. He was joined on that squad by Celtics guard Avery Bradley, Grizzlies guard Mike Conley, Spurs forward Tim Duncan and Pacers forward Paul George.