The trio of Kevin Love, Kyrie Irving and LeBron James all reached
the 20-point mark on the same night for the first time this season
and the Cleveland Cavaliers downed the Detroit Pistons 114-106 on
Friday night at The Palace.
James became the youngest player ever to reach 26,000 points when he
made two free throws during the third quarter.
Cleveland shot 47 percent from the field and scored 30 or more
points in each of the first three quarters.
"The pace really created a lot of opportunities for us, a lot of
possessions," Irving said. "We found our spots and executed really
Love, who was passed over by the Eastern Conference coaches as an
All-Star reserve, erupted for 29 points in his second-highest
scoring game this season. Cleveland's power forward scored 34
against Orlando on Nov. 23.
"We've got to learn on the fly with Ty being the head coach," said
Love, who made five of the team's nine 3-pointers. "It's going to
take a little bit more time, but it was good to see that tonight."
Irving, the team's floor leader, supplied 28 points for the
Cavaliers (33-12), who are 3-1 since Lue replaced David Blatt as
"Part of our success as a team is me pushing the pace and being
aggressive and getting other players shots," Irving said. "With the
pace we're trying to play at, that we want to continue to play at,
it's important for me to do that. I take it as a personal
James became the 17th player in league history to hit 26,000. The
All-Star forward finished with 20 points, nine rebounds and a
team-high eight assists.
"When they're scoring like that, they're unbeatable," Detroit
shooting guard Kentavious Caldwell-Pope said. "You can't have all
three of them scoring double digits like that."
Cleveland center Tristan Thompson added a double-double with 11
points and 14 rebounds. The Cavs made all but two of their 29 free
throws and had a 47-39 rebounding advantage.
Center Andre Drummond's 20 points and eight rebounds led Detroit
(25-22). Drummond, the first Piston selected to the All-Star game
since Allen Iverson in 2009, had 25 points and 18 rebounds in a
104-99 victory over Cleveland at The Palace on Nov. 17.
Caldwell-Pope had 19 points and seven rebounds and rookie small
forward Stanley Johnson added 15 points and five assists for
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"When all three of those guys play well, you're going to have a hard
time beating them," Pistons coach Stan Van Gundy said of Cleveland's
stars. "If you cut the second-chance points in half, get them to 20
free throw attempts instead of 29 and rebound the ball, we still
have a chance even with them playing that well."
The teams traded 7-0 runs at the start of the second half, then
things soon got a little testy. James and Pistons forward Marcus
Morris exchanged words at midcourt and needed to be separated after
a double foul was called on them.
Cleveland then took command with a 12-2 spurt, capped by a 3-pointer
from shooting guard J.R. Smith, to make it 90-71. The Pistons closed
to within nine on Morris' three-point play with 4:45 left, but Love
responded with a fadeaway shot and Cavs closed it out.
James had a quiet first half, attempting only six shots from the
field and scoring 10 points. The Cavs' other stars filled the void,
with Love and Irving combining for 35 points to lead Cleveland to a
66-58 halftime lead.
NOTES: Entering Friday, Cleveland PG Kyrie Irving was averaging just
3.8 assists since returning from a knee injury last month, but coach
Tyronn Lue is more concerned with his scoring. "I want him to attack
first and then if it opens to an assist, then make the play," Lue
said. "I don't think anybody can stop him one on one." ... Pistons
PG Brandon Jennings scored just seven points during the last three
games before Friday as he adjusts to a bench role. "I'm happy with
Brandon. He's fine," Detroit coach Stan Van Gundy said. "Things will
level out as it goes on." ... Detroit PF Ersan Ilyasova was playing
in his 500th career game. ... Cleveland is 22-2 when scoring at
least 100 points heading into Friday's contest. ... The Cavs won
their previous five road games against Eastern Conference opponents
by an average of 15.2 points.
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