Injured Cleveland Cavaliers center Jarrett Allen sits on the bench...

Injured Cleveland Cavaliers center Jarrett Allen sits on the bench during the second half of Game 5 of an NBA basketball first-round playoff series against the Orlando Magic, Tuesday, April 30, 2024, in Cleveland. Credit: AP/Ron Schwane

ORLANDO, Fla. — The Cleveland Cavaliers are playing Game 6 of their first-round NBA playoff series against the Orlando Magic without center Jarrett Allen, who is sitting out for the second straight game Friday night because of a bruised rib.

Allen, who has arguably been the Cavs’ best player in the series, also missed Game 5, which Cleveland won 104-103 at home on Tuesday. He was injured when he took an elbow in the ribs during the second half of last weekend's 23-point road loss in Game 4.

Cleveland holds a 3-2 lead and can close out the Eastern Conference series with a win Friday night over the Magic, who won Games 3 and 4 at home by a combined 61 points.

Game 7, if needed, would be Sunday in Cleveland.

Allen traveled with the team to Orlando and his status remained uncertain 90 minutes before tipoff.

“We'll see,” Cavs coach J.B. Bickerstaff said when asked of the 6-foot-11 center would play.

“It's his safety always,” Bickerstaff said when asked what concerned the team about playing Allen. “ When you have an injury to your core, your ability to change directions, get out of the way, move freely, play in the trenches like he does. We'll always look out for Jarrett.”

Allen has been Cleveland's most consistent player in the series, averaging 17 points and 13.8 rebounds in four games.

With Allen out in Game 5, the Cavs shifted forward Evan Mobley into the center spot, started Isaac Okoro and gave reserves Tristan Thompson and Marcus Morris Sr. more playing time.

Morris gave the team a major lift off the bench with 12 points in Game 5.

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