NBA: Cleveland Cavaliers, Houston Rockets romp in second-round openers

Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James dunking the ball against the Toronto Raptors during their NBA playoff game on May 1, 2017.
Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James dunking the ball against the Toronto Raptors during their NBA playoff game on May 1, 2017.PHOTO: AFP/GETTY IMAGES

Washington (AFP) - LeBron James sparked defending National Basketball Association (NBA) champions Cleveland over Toronto while James Harden powered the Houston Rockets to an epic rout of San Antonio in second-round playoff openers on Monday.

James scored 35 points and grabbed 10 rebounds while Kyrie Irving added 24 points and 10 assists and Kevin Love had 18 points and nine rebounds as the Cavaliers ripped the visiting Raptors 116-105 in their best-of-seven Eastern Conference matchup.

Harden had 20 points and 14 assists while Trevor Ariza scored 23 points and Clint Capela contributed 20 points and 13 rebounds as the Rockets dumped hosts Spurs 126-99 to start their best-of-seven Western Conference series.

The Rockets sank a team playoff record 22 three-pointers on 50 attempts, inflicting the most three-pointers allowed by the Spurs in playoff history.

San Antonio trailed by as many as 39 points in the team's largest Game One defeat in playoff history.

The Spurs' 69-39 half-time deficit was their worst in playoff history.