Pacey Cavs silence Pistons as James hits 26,000 points

Cleveland's Kyrie Irving (right) getting to the basket past Detroit's Andre Drummond during the second half at The Palace. The Cavaliers beat the Pistons 114-106.
Cleveland's Kyrie Irving (right) getting to the basket past Detroit's Andre Drummond during the second half at The Palace. The Cavaliers beat the Pistons 114-106.PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

AUBURN HILLS (Michigan) • New head coach Tyronn Lue is trying to get the Cleveland Cavaliers to play at a faster tempo. The team's Big Three are starting to get back into a groove together, and that spells danger for the rest of the National Basketball Association (NBA) league.

The trio of Kevin Love, Kyrie Irving and LeBron James all reached the 20-point mark on the same night for the first time this season and the Cleveland Cavaliers downed the Detroit Pistons 114-106 on Friday at The Palace.

James, 31, became the youngest player ever to reach 26,000 points when he made two free throws during the third quarter.

Cleveland shot 47 per cent from the field and scored 30 or more points in each of the first three quarters.

"The pace really created a lot of opportunities for us, a lot of possessions," Irving said. "We found our spots and executed really well."

Love, who was passed over by the Eastern Conference coaches as an All-Star reserve, erupted for 29 points in his second-highest scoring game this season. Cleveland's power forward scored 34 against Orlando on Nov 23.

"We've got to learn on the fly with Ty being the head coach," said Love, who made five of the team's nine three-pointers.

"It's going to take a little bit more time, but it was good to see that tonight."

Irving, the team's floor leader, supplied 28 points for the Cavaliers (33-12), who are 3-1 since Lue replaced David Blatt as head coach.

"Part of our success as a team is me pushing the pace and being aggressive and getting other players shots," Irving said.

"With the pace we're trying to play at, it's important for me to do that. I take it as a challenge."

James, at 31 years and 30 days old, became the 17th player in NBA history to hit 26,000 points, eclipsing the record of Kobe Bryant, who was 32 years and 80 days old when he reached that mark.

The All-Star forward finished with 20 points, nine rebounds and a team-high eight assists.

"When they're scoring like that, they're unbeatable," Detroit shooting guard Kentavious Caldwell-Pope said.

"You can't have all three of them scoring double digits like that."

Cleveland centre Tristan Thompson added a double-double with 11 points and 14 rebounds. The Cavs made all but two of their 29 free throws and had a 47-39 rebounding advantage.

Centre Andre Drummond's 20 points and eight rebounds led Detroit (25-22).

Caldwell-Pope had 19 points and seven rebounds and rookie small forward Stanley Johnson added 15 points and five assists for Detroit.

REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on January 31, 2016, with the headline 'Pacey Cavs silence Pistons as James hits 26,000 points'. Print Edition | Subscribe