Rested Cavs smack Pistons
CLEVELAND — Kyrie Irving scored 25 points and LeBron James, returning to the lineup after sitting out a game, added 21 as the Cleveland Cavaliers rolled past the Detroit Pistons 104-81 on Friday night.
Irving was 11 of 15 from the field with 11 assists, one short of his career high, in 29 minutes.
James, who rested Wednesday in a loss to Indiana, made 9 of 14 shots and played only 28 minutes.
Following a slow start that saw Cleveland coach Tyronn Lue call timeout less than two minutes into the game, the Cavaliers took over. Cleveland led by 11 at the end of the first quarter, took a 56-39 lead into halftime and continued to dominate.
Cleveland built the lead to 33 points in the fourth quarter, allowing Lue to rest his starters for the entire final period. The defending NBA champions don’t play again until Wednesday.
Jon Leuer led the Pistons with 15 points.
J.R. Smith, who returned after missing three games with a sprained right ankle, hit three 3-pointers and moved past the Mavericks’ Dirk Nowitzki into 15th place on the NBA’s all-time list for 3s.
Detroit coach Stan Van Gundy, who was unhappy with his team’s defense and rebounding in Wednesday’s loss to New York, benched his starters for the fourth quarter.
Cleveland was 11 of 25 on 3-pointers and has reached double figures in all 12 games, an NBA record to start the season.
Kevin Love scored 12 points and had 14 rebounds while Tristan Thompson also had 14 rebounds.
The Pistons hit a pair of 3s to score the first game’s six points when Lue abruptly signaled for time.
The decision paid off when Smith hit three 3-pointers, and James and Tristan Thompson scored on dunks.
Detroit’s long night was only beginning. The Pistons’ starting five of Tobias Harris, Marcus Morris, Andre Drummond, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and Ish Smith combined for only 37 points.
Pistons: Harris was hit with a technical foul in the second quarter. … Van Gundy plans on sticking with a nine-man rotation, not expanding it to 10, until his team is at full strength. G Reggie Jackson is still rehabbing from surgery on his left knee and hasn’t played this season.
Cavaliers: James had three assists and is four away from passing Guy Rodgers for 17th on the all-time list. …. Cleveland blocked eight shots, including four by Thompson. …. G Mike Dunleavy, who didn’t play against Indiana, entered the game in the second quarter. He scored five points.
Pistons: Host Celtics on Saturday. Detroit is 5-0 at The Palace of Auburn Hills this season.
Cavaliers: Host Trail Blazers on Wednesday.
Copyright 2016 The Associated Press.