That might come into play on Sunday when they host the Indiana Pacers, a matchup of two injury-plagued teams.
Indiana played without its top four big men against the Chicago Bulls Friday in its 122-115 loss. The Pacers resorted to playing 6-5 Terry Taylor in the post for stretches of the game. He responded with his second consecutive 20-point double-double.
The most notable absences for Indiana are two-time All-Star center Domantas Sabonis, sidelined in the COVID-19 protocol, and the NBA's leading shot-blocker, Myles Turner, who is suffering from a stress reaction in his left foot.
The Pacers list the 6-10 Isaiah Jackson as the probable starter against the Cavs, who rode the hot hand of Allen Friday in a 102-101 victory over Charlotte. Allen, snubbed for the Eastern Conference All-Star team, had a career-high 29 points and 22 rebounds. That included a career-high 11 offensive rebounds, one off the franchise record accomplished five times, most recently by Tristan Thompson on Oct. 31, 2014.
The Cavs' public relations department reported he was the 12th player in team history to record a 20-20 game. It came one day after being left off the All-Star team.
"The league messed up in not making him an All-Star," Cavs forward Kevin Love said after Friday's game.
Allen said after the Charlotte game his enormous output was more about him wanting to play better than about being omitted from the All-Star team. He said he was approached by Love after Friday's game.
"He came over and said, 'You played your heart out,' " Allen told Bally Sports Ohio.
Cavs coach J.B. Bickerstaff gave Allen an All-Star endorsement. "That's an All-Star performance," he said Friday. "He is able to dominate a game with skill and heart alone. He came out tonight to send a message."
One of the Cavs' 7-footers, forward Lauri Markkanen, is sidelined with a sprained ankle and won't play on Sunday. Forward/center Evan Mobley, a strong candidate for Rookie of the Year, is the other 7-footer in the starting lineup.
"Our bigs are what makes us unique," Bickerstaff said. "Their willingness to play together (is key). We're still learning to take advantage of that."
Sabonis was spectacular in the Pacers' last meeting with the Cavs on Jan. 2, a 108-104 win by Cleveland. The 6-11 center had 32 points, 13 rebounds and seven assists.
The teams will meet twice in five days, as Indiana will host the Cavs on Feb. 11. In between, the Pacers will travel to Atlanta on Tuesday.
Indiana, which has lost three of its last four games, including two in a row, are just 6-20 on the road this season.
The Pacers put up a good fight against the Bulls Friday, especially forward Caris LeVert, who exploded for 42 points, including 22 in the first quarter.
"I ain't never seen nothing like it up close," Taylor said after Friday's game. "It was unreal. It was like a video game."
He said he was "feeling it" in warmups. "I think you just kind of eel it as a player when you're out there," the 6-6 guard/forward said. "I felt it all night, so I just tried to carry that the whole game."
LeVert, an Ohio native, is being rumored to be on the trade block. The Cavs are looking for a scoring option with all of their injury woes.
All-Star point guard Darius Garland has missed the last three games with a sore lower back.
The big difference in the Chicago game was in the post. The Bulls outscored Indiana 70-54 in the paint, the most points in the paint by a Pacers opponent this season.
Jackson didn't play against Chicago after turning his ankle against Orlando on Wednesday. Center Goga Bitadze is out with a questionable right foot for Indiana.
--Field Level Media
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