Cleveland (37-27 straight up, 36-26-2 against the spread) has enjoyed a surprising breakout season despite a slew of injuries to key players. Now once again at the most inopportune time, the Cavaliers have lost one of their better players to yet another injury.
Jarrett Allen is out indefinitely with a fractured middle finger. The 7-foot, fifth-year, 23-year-old center has been enjoying his finest season as a pro, averaging 16.1 points, 10.8 rebounds and 1.3 blocked shots per game. He has made 67.7 percent of his field-goal attempts.
The injury is to the finger on his left, non-shooting hand. He appears to have suffered it on this play in Sunday’s 104-96 win over Toronto.
“He’s the anchor to our defense,” Cleveland forward Kevin Love said after practice on Monday. “He means so much to this team.”
Cleveland fleeced Brooklyn when it acquired Allen last season as a part of the four-team trade that sent Houston’s James Harden to the Nets. Ironically, Allen received an All-Star Game invite to replace the injured Harden on Team LeBron.
The Cavs signed Allen to a multi-year contract this past summer.
Cleveland won only 22 games last year and it hasn’t been to the postseason since LeBron James left for the Lakers in 2018. The Cavs are playoff bound despite losing Collin Sexton and Ricky Rubio to season-ending injuries.
Sexton averaged 24.3 PPG last season, and he was scoring at a 16.0 PPG clip in the team’s first 11 games this year. Rubio was averaging 13.1 points, 6.6 assists, 4.1 rebounds and 1.4 steals in the Cavs’ first 34 games. After he went down injured, Rubio was traded in a deal that brought Caris LeVert to the club for its postseason push.
After playing just four games for the Cavs, LeVert went down with a foot injury that’s going to keep him sidelined for another week or two. Also, veteran point guard Rajon Rondo is coping with a toe issue that’s expected to keep him out until later this month.
Nevertheless, Cleveland has a three-game advantage over Toronto for the sixth seed in the Eastern Conference. The Cavs are only one game behind Boston for fifth place and 1.5 games back of Chicago for fourth.
They are 4.5-point road favorites tonight at Indiana.