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FULL HIGHLIGHTS: Cavs Big Three Leads Way To Game 1 Victory Over Pistons; 106-101

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In a tightly contested first game of the playoffs, the Cavs did enough late in the fourth quarter to pull away from the 8th-seed Detroit Pistons and earn an important 1-0 series lead in the best of seven series. Playing for the first time in the playoffs after injuries knocked them out last year, Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love played inspired basketball to lead the home team to the win. Irving poured in 31 points, six assists and five rebounds, while Love was a force all over the court with 28 points and 13 boards. The two combined to make nine shots from behind the arc, helping to offset the Pistons hot shooting of their own. Not to be outdone by Love and Irving, LeBron James had a great all-around game as well, finishing with 22 points, 11 assists and six rebounds.

The game was intense from the very beginning. The Pistons started the game playing very well on offense, looking like they didn’t care at all about the difference in seeding. An early 12-2 run put Detroit ahead 18-11 before a Cavaliers timeout. The Pistons made seven consecutive field goals through one stretch of the first quarter, but it didn’t change the Cavs’ effort or the fans intensity. The Cavs answered back with a 10-2 run of their own and ultimately took a 27-25 lead into the second quarter. The Cavs held Detroit guard Reggie Jackson to just two field goal attempts in the quarter, and held all-star center Andre Drummond to just one rebound and no points. LeBron led the way early for the Cavs with 10 points on 5-7 shooting, while adding four assists.

The Detroit bench continued the strong play offensively in the second quarter, taking a six-point lead at 39-33 after a quick 14-6 run. Most of their damage, for almost all of the first half, was done from behind the arc. As a team the Pistons made 10 of their 16 threes in the first half, on their way to shooting 62% from the floor in the first 24 minutes. The Cavs had another answer for their run, scoring the next eight points to take a 41-39 lead. The lead changed hands multiple times in the quarter, and ultimately the long-range shooting of the Pistons gave them a 58-53 lead at the half.

It took barely a minute for the Cavs, and more specifically Kyrie Irving himself, to erase that lead in the third quarter. Irving would score the first eight points of the second half all by himself, and the Cavs appeared poised to take control. The Pistons hot shooting continued, however, and the 1-seed Cavs found themselves down by two, 78-76 heading into the fourth quarter.

The fourth quarter was the best defensive quarter for the Cavs, as they finally were able to frustrate the Pistons’ shooters. The small lineup of Kevin Love at center, LeBron at power forward, Iman Shumpert at small forward, and JR Smith and Kyrie Irving was critical to the Cavs’ defensive schemes as it allowed Coach Lue to matchup with combination players like Marcus Morris and Reggie Jackson. The Cavs won the fourth quarter 30-23, on their way to the five-point victory at 106-101.

The Cavs will look to take a commanding 2-0 lead in the series on Wednesday at The Q. Having no other player outside of The Big Three even in double-figures, the Cavs will look for a better performance out of their bench to counter the young, athletic Pistons bench.

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