LeBron James isn’t all alone.
One year after he carried the Cavaliers as far as he could in the postseason, James once again has Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love by his side.
Cleveland’s Big Three is playoff healthy again.
Irving scored 31 points in his first playoff game since being injured last year in the NBA Finals and 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 young and confident Detroit Pistons in the opener of their first-round playoff series Sunday.
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 Cavaliers 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.
As he sat between his teammates — who combined with him for 81 points, 24 rebounds and 18 assists — after the game Sunday game, James looked relieved.
“For these two guys, they were just excited to get back to this moment,” he said. “These guys have been working hard, Kyrie on his knee, Kevin on his shoulder just to get back to this moment. It was great to be out on the floor with them and for them to put together the performance that they did.”
at San Antonio 106, Memphis 74: Kawhi Leonard had 20 points and the Spurs beat Memphis in Game 1 of their Western Conference first-round series, handing the Grizzlies their worst postseason loss.
San Antonio shot 68% in the third quarter, outscoring Memphis, 33-14, to break open what had been a relatively close game against the short-handed Grizzlies.
Memphis matched a postseason low in the first quarter with 13 points, and only Xavier Munford’s 15-foot jumper with 46.1 seconds remaining kept it from matching the worst output in any quarter.
Vince Carter had 16 points to lead Memphis. Zach Randolph was held to six points on three-for-13 shooting.
Memphis’ largest previous losing margin was 27 points against Oklahoma City on May 11, 2011.
at Miami 123, Charlotte 91: Luol Deng made his Miami postseason debut one to remember.
And with a franchise record for points, the Heat are off to a flying playoff start.
Miami scored 41 points in the first quarter to tie one franchise playoff record, set another with the 123 points — topping the 121 in the 2012 NBA Finals clincher against Oklahoma City — and never trailed.
Game 2 is Wednesday night in Miami.