CLEVELAND (Ohio) • Coach Tyronn Lue has insisted throughout the Cleveland Cavaliers' terrific start to the National Basketball Association season that they had yet to play a full game.
The defence had been suspect, the shooting erratic. All of that changed on Friday.
Kyrie Irving scored 25 points and passed out a season-high 11 assists, LeBron James scored 21 while Kevin Love had 12 points and 13 rebounds in the Cavs' 104-81 dismantling of the Detroit Pistons.
Lue burnt his first time-out 97 seconds into the game to curse at his players. After that, nothing else needed to be said.
The Cavs strung together one of their finest defensive performances of the year, holding the Pistons to 31 per cent for shots made.
"Offensively and defensively this is the best we've played all year," James said.
The Cavs led 30-19 after the first quarter and led by 32 points in the third quarter before Lue cleared his bench for the fourth quarter.
"I thought what we did defensively was really good," the Cavs coach said. "We made some mistakes, but we played hard. When you play hard, you can cover for mistakes. I thought we did a great job of just playing hard in that first half."
The Pistons fell to 1-7 on the road, continuing their struggles away from the Palace. This time, they were never really in the game.
"We got crushed," Pistons coach Stan Van Gundy said. "They did everything better."
Jon Leuer scored 15 points off the bench for the Pistons. Andre Drummond scored eight points and grabbed 10 rebounds, while Tobias Harris and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope each scored nine points.
Van Gundy said he is contemplating line-up changes.
"Give them all the credit. They played a lot harder than we did," he said. "We need to find people that play that hard."