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James scores 38 as Cavaliers crush Pistons in Game 1

The Sports Network
4/18/2009 9:13:41 PM
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Cleveland, OH (Sports Network) - LeBron James was dominant, scoring 38 points, grabbing eight rebounds and dishing out seven assists, as the Cleveland Cavaliers easily took Game 1 of their Eastern Conference quarterfinal series with Detroit, 102-84.

James shot 13-of-20 from the field and 11-of-14 from the free throw line for the Cavaliers, who have beaten the Pistons in five straight playoff matchups. Cleveland last faced Detroit in the playoffs in the 2006-07 Eastern Conference finals and defeated the Pistons, 4-2, after dropping the first two games.

"I know it's the playoffs and it's a different level of basketball," James said, "so you have to be more mentally in tune. I just took what the defense gave me."

James also had zero turnovers in just under 41 minutes of game time, and the team had only five overall.

"They're focused. We, as a staff, say don't turn the ball over, but the players actually have to go out there and do it," Cavs head coach Mike Brown said. "There's no secret formula, we aren't doing anything different. It amazes me when a guy like LeBron plays 41 minutes and has zero turnovers."

Zydrunas Ilgauskas contributed 12 points and 10 rebounds, as the Cavs won their 40th game at home this season while losing only twice. The next game in the series will take place on Tuesday at 8:00 p.m. (et) at Quicken Loans Arena.

Rodney Stuckey led the Detroit attack with 20 points, but it wasn't enough to overcome Cleveland's league-best defense. The Pistons, the only team in the playoff field with a sub-.500 record, have appeared in the conference finals in each of the last six seasons.

"(The Cavs shot) fifty percent at home, it's tough to beat a team (like Cleveland) at home," Stuckey said. "We just need to jump on them early, but it's hard when LeBron is going like that. He's their leader, but we got to guard the other four players on the court as well. We just have to try to contain him and play better defense."

Rasheed Wallace added 13 points and nine rebounds, while Richard Hamilton had 15 points in defeat.

An early 8-2 run by the Cavaliers extended the hosts to a 14-8 advantage, and James scored 12 points in the opening quarter. Stuckey countered with 10 points, as Mo Williams had two early fouls, and Detroit stayed within 30-25 heading to the second.

The Pistons got as close as 37-36 on a pair of Wallace jumpers, but Joe Smith and James began an 8-2 burst that put the Cavs in front by seven with just under five minutes left in the half.

Cleveland extended its edge to 57-45 at halftime after James drained a half- court bank shot at the buzzer. James had 22 points at the break.

"My range is pretty much unlimited," James said. "Did I call glass? Yeah, after I hit it."

Six straight Pistons points -- four from Stuckey -- got the Pistons within 61-53 three minutes into the third, but the Cavs went up by a 74-59 score on a James free throw with just under four minutes remaining in the period.

It was 78-65 after three quarters.

James spent the first three minutes of the fourth on the bench, and Detroit went on a 7-2 run to close within 80-72. But the Cleveland star re-entered the game, and the Cavs embarked on a game-deciding 13-2 run that put the game well out of reach. James had six of the points, Delonte West's layup with a little over five minutes left made it 93-74, and the Cavs cruised from there.

Game Notes

Cleveland won the regular season series, 3-1, for the first time since the 1997-98 season...The Cavs allowed a league-low 91.4 points per game...The Pistons are 1-6 on the road all-time against Cleveland in the playoffs...Smith had 13 points, while Williams and West had 12 for the Cavs...Antonio McDyess had 10 points for Detroit.

LeBron James (Photo: David Liam Kyle/NBAE via Getty Images)


(Photo: David Liam Kyle/NBAE via Getty Images)
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