CLEVELAND (AP) — Kyrie Irving scored 31 points in his first playoff game since being injured in last year’s NBA Finals and Kevin Love added 28, leading the Cleveland Cavaliers to a 106-101 win over the young and confident Detroit Pistons in the opener of their first-round playoff series Sunday.
LeBron James added 22 points and 11 assists for the top-seeded Cavs, who are favored to win the Eastern Conference again but got all they could handle from the Pistons.
Love, knocked out of the playoffs with a shoulder injury in the first round a year ago, made two critical 3-pointers in the fourth.
Kentavious Caldwell-Pope scored 21 and Marcus Morris 20 — but just one after halftime — for the Pistons, making their first playoff appearance since 2009. Andre Drummond had 13 points and 11 rebounds.
Detroit made 15 3-pointers, but the Pistons’ playoff inexperience showed in the final minutes.