The Cleveland Cavaliers find themselves in a bit of a cold stretch, as their 107-104 loss to the Miami Heat on Wednesday night ended up being their fourth loss in the past six games. While the team is dealing with a handful of injuries, Darius Garland and Jarrett Allen have been tasked with leading the way, and while they aren’t winning every night, the duo is playing some solid basketball.

It’s been a trying season at times for Garland, and while he’s been finding his way of late, their loss to the Heat was a struggle for the talented point guard (13 PTS, 7 AST, 6 REB, 5/18 FGM). However, he was picked up by a monster game from Allen (25 PTS, 20 REB, 3 AST, 10/13 FGM), and afterwards, Garland shouted out the big man as the heart and soul of the Cavs as they try to make their way through a tough stretch in their season.

Darius Garland, Cavs continuing to rely on Jarrett Allen for big games

Cleveland Cavaliers center Jarrett Allen (31) dunks in the first quarter against the Miami Heat at Rocket Mortgage Field House.

Mandatory Credit: David Richard-USA TODAY Sports

While Cleveland is having a strong season, they have been dealt a pretty tough hand when it comes to injuries. That hasn’t been the case for Allen, who has missed only the first five games of the season before suiting up for the ensuing 63 contests. Allen has been having the best year of his career to this point (16.2 PPG, 10.6 RPG, 2.6 APG, 62.6 FG%) and he’s been huge in picking up the slack for his fellow big man Evan Mobley.

There’s no doubt that Garland and Donovan Mitchell are more important to the Cavs’ desires to go on a deep playoff run this year, but Allen is the glue holding this team together currently. His ability to dominate the paint on both ends of the floor is crucial, and without him, it’s tough to see Cleveland having as good of a season as they are currently having.

Allen’s latest big outing didn’t yield the Cavs a win, but considering the talent of their opponent in the Heat, it was encouraging to see them nearly pull out a victory despite being without Mitchell, Mobley, and Max Strus. In fairness, Miami was pretty shorthanded themselves, but their ability to grind through games and pick up wins without their top players is already well-known. Seeing Cleveland refuse to roll over and die like they did in the 2023 NBA Playoffs is a good start.

The Cavaliers still have a lot of work to do if they intend on making a run to the Finals this year, and the first step involves getting healthy. Allen will likely continue to lead the ship as the regular season comes to a close, and while the team will anxiously be awaiting the returns of Mitchell and Mobley, Garland recognizes the importance of their star big man, and if they achieve their biggest goals this year, chances are the “Fro” is going to be critical to their success.