Cavaliers win opener

The Associated Press

CLEVELAND—LeBron James isn’t all alone.
One year after he carried the Cavaliers as far as he could in the post-season, 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 while 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 Detroit Pistons in the opener of their first-round playoff series yesterday.
James added 22 points and 11 assists for the top-seeded Cavs.
They are favoured 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.
Love made two critical three-pointers in the fourth quarter as the Cavs overcame a seven-point deficit by outscoring the Pistons 30-18 over the final 10:52.
Kentavious Caldwell-Pope scored 21 points while Marcus Morris had 20, though just one after halftime, for the Pistons—making their first playoff appearance since 2009.
Andre Drummond added 13 points and 11 rebounds for the Pistons, who made 15 three-pointers but missed a couple of open ones down the stretch when their playoff inexperience showed.
Despite the loss, Jackson and his teammates didn’t lose any confidence.
“We don’t care who you put in front of us,” said Jackson, who was slapped with a technical with 3:24 left.
“We fear nobody and experience is going to be our best teacher,” he added. “We’re going to learn on the fly.
“We think we have a chance.”
Elsewhere in the NBA, Miami beat Charlotte 123-91, San Antonio dumped Memphis 106-74, and the L.A. Clippers bounced Portland 115-95 to grab 1-0 leads in their respective series.