The Cleveland Cavaliers’ star trio came up big as the Eastern Conference champions opened their play-off campaign with a 106-101 win over the Detroit Pistons.
Reunited together for the first time in the post-season since last season’s first round, LeBron James, Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love combined to lead the top-seeded Cavs past the relentless Pistons in game one of the opening-round series in Cleveland on Sunday.
Irving – playing his first play-off since hurting his knee against the Golden State Warriors in the NBA Finals last year – posted 31 points, while Love – who dislocated his shoulder in last season’s fourth play-off game, contributed 28 points.
James dished up 22 points and 11 assists in a double-double display.
Seeded eighth in the Eastern Conference, the Pistons, who had a seven-point advantage erased inside the remaining 11 minutes as the Cavs went on a 30-18 run, were led by Kentavious Caldwell-Pope (21 points) and Marcus Morris (20 points).
Meanwhile in the East, the Miami Heat dismantled the Charlotte Hornets 123-91 in game one.
The San Antonio Spurs had a far easier assignment on home court as they crushed the Memphis Grizzlies 106-74 in the opening game of their Western Conference first-round series.
With Marc Gasol, Mike Conley and Brandon Wright absent, the West’s top-seeded Spurs condemned the Grizzlies to a 32-point loss in San Antonio.
Kawhi Leonard scored 20 points, while LaMarcus Aldridge and Tony Parker added 17 point 15 points respectively.
Vince Carter led the Grizzlies – seeded seventh – with 16 points.
As for the Los Angeles Clippers, they accounted for the Portland Trail Blazers 115-95.