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Tony Dejak, Associated Press
Cleveland Cavaliers' LeBron James (23) drives past Detroit Pistons' Reggie Jackson (1), from Italy, in the second half in Game 1 of a first-round NBA basketball playoff series, Sunday, April 17, 2016, in Cleveland. The Cavaliers won 106-101.

CLEVELAND — LeBron James isn't all alone.

One year after he carried the Cavaliers as far as he could in the postseason, James once again has Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love by his side.

Cleveland's Big 3 is playoff healthy again.

Irving scored 31 points in his first playoff game since being injured last year in the NBA Finals and Love, who was knocked out in the first round by an injury a year ago, added 28 to lead the Cavaliers to a 106-101 victory over the young and confident Detroit Pistons in the opener of their first-round playoff series Sunday.

James added 22 points and 11 assists for the top-seeded Cavs. They are favored to win the Eastern Conference again but got all they could handle from the fearless Pistons.

Cleveland's championship chances were dealt a major blow when Love's shoulder was dislocated in just his fourth playoff game last year at Boston. The Cavs advanced to the Finals without him only to have Irving break his kneecap in Game 1 against Golden State, an injury that left James to fight the Warriors on his own.

As he sat between his teammates — who combined with him for 81 points, 24 rebounds and 18 assists — following the game Sunday game, James looked relieved.

"For these two guys, they were just excited to get back to this moment," he said. "These guys have been working hard, Kyrie on his knee, Kevin on his shoulder just to get back to this moment. It was great to be out on the floor with them and for them to put together the performance that they did."

Love made two critical 3-pointers in the fourth quarter and the Cavs overcame a seven-point deficit by outscoring the Pistons 30-18 over the final 10:52.

Kentavious Caldwell-Pope scored 21 points and Marcus Morris had 20 — but just one after halftime — and Reggie Jackson added 17 for the Pistons, making their first playoff appearance since 2009. Andre Drummond had 13 points and 11 rebounds for the Pistons, who made 15 3-pointers but missed a couple open ones down the stretch when their playoff inexperience showed.

Game 2 is Wednesday at 6 p.m. MDT.


SAN ANTONIO — Kawhi Leonard had 20 points and San Antonio beat Memphis in Game 1 of their Western Conference series, handing the Grizzlies their worst postseason loss.

LaMarcus Aldridge added 17 points, and Tony Parker had 15 points and six assists for San Antonio. The Spurs sat their starters in the fourth quarter to rest them for Game 2 on Tuesday night in San Antonio.

San Antonio shot 68 percent in the third quarter, outscoring Memphis 33-14 to break open what had been a relatively close game against the short-handed Grizzlies.

Memphis matched a postseason low in the first quarter with 13 points, and only Xavier Munford's 15-foot jumper with 46.1 seconds remaining kept it from matching the worst output in any quarter.

Vince Carter had 16 points to lead Memphis. Zach Randolph was held to six points on 3-for-13 shooting.

Memphis' previous largest losing margin was 27 points against Oklahoma City on May 11, 2011.


MIAMI — Luol Deng scored 31 points on 11-for-13 shooting, Hassan Whiteside added 21 points and 11 rebounds in his postseason debut, and Miami routed Charlotte in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference series.

Dwyane Wade scored 16 points in 26 minutes, Joe Johnson and Amare Stoudemire each had 11 points, and Goran Dragic finished with 10 assists.

Miami scored 41 points in the first quarter to tie one franchise playoff record, set another with the 123 points — topping the 121 in the 2012 NBA Finals clincher against Oklahoma City — and never trailed.

Nic Batum scored 24 points for the Hornets. Kemba Walker added 19.

Game 2 is Wednesday night in Miami.


LOS ANGELES — Chris Paul had 28 points and 11 assists as one of three Clippers with a double-double, leading Los Angeles to a victory over the Portland Trail Blazers in the opener of their first-round playoff series.

Blake Griffin had 19 points and 12 rebounds, DeAndre Jordan added 18 points and 12 rebounds and J.J. Redick had 17 points. The Clippers are 6-0 with Griffin in the lineup since he returned from a 45-game absence two weeks ago.

Damian Lillard led the Blazers with 21 points, while backcourt mate CJ McCollum was held to nine points. They combined to average 45.9 points this season, third-highest by any duo in the NBA. Against the Clippers, they shot a combined 10 of 28.

Game 2 is Wednesday night at Staples Center.

Led by Paul and Griffin, the Clippers were their flashy Lob City selves — dunking, scoring in transition and diving after loose balls. The Blazers never got untracked while shooting under 40 percent for much of the game. Their only lead was by one point in the second quarter of the first postseason meeting between the teams.

The Clippers shot 54 percent and owned a 48-34 edge in the paint.