The Pistons also had James seeing triple at the other end of the
Detroit made 10 3-pointers in the first half -- one shy of an NBA
playoff record -- to open up a 21-point lead at halftime before
cruising to a 113-86 victory over the Cleveland Cavaliers on Sunday
in Game 1 of their second-round series.
The Pistons finished with a franchise playoff-record 15
3-pointers, on 22 attempts, and missed only one of their 11
attempts beyond the arc before halftime.
"They're going to sweep the rest of the playoffs if they shoot
like that and win the NBA championship," James said. "We shot 50
percent and had only six turnovers in the first half and were down
22. It's hard to explain that."
James scored all of his 22 points in the first half, but the
21-year-old star had to work for each one. Triple-teamed at times,
James was forced to take difficult shots or defer to teammates who
didn't respond by making shots of their own.
"The team has to be in a zone situation behind me," said
Tayshaun Prince, who led Detroit's "LeBron Rules" defense.
James didn't play in the fourth quarter after he was held
scoreless in the third while the Pistons built a 30-point lead.
Prince made James work on defense, too, scoring 24 points and
tying his playoff record.
The two-time defending Eastern Conference champions turned the
game into a rout with a franchise playoff-record 43 points in the
second quarter against a team in the second round for the first
time since 1993.
The Pistons had four double-figure scorers in the first half
alone, including reserves Antonio McDyess and Lindsey Hunter. Both
had 12 at halftime -- outscoring every Cavs player not named James
in the first half.
Ben Wallace, the NBA Defensive Player of the Year according to
an Associated Press source, had 11 rebounds and four blocks for the
Cleveland's Zydrunas Ilgauskas had 14 points after a poor series
against Washington in the first round. The Cavs, who didn't have a
third double-digit scorer until the fourth quarter, got 11 points
from Anderson Varejao.
The Cavs played about 40 hours after their Game 6 win at
Washington in overtime, flying home and then to suburban Detroit.
Meanwhile, the Pistons had a day off and two days of practices
after eliminating Milwaukee in five games.
"It was up to us to jump out early after the first round they
had," Prince said. "I think they had some tired legs."
The Cavs began the game with some fight, leading 12-7 and being
tied late in the first quarter. Detroit went on a 10-0 run over the
last 1:57 of the first quarter -- helped by James' two turnovers --
to take a 26-16 lead.
Cleveland was still hanging around, by NBA standards, trailing
by 14 until the Pistons closed another quarter in dominating
fashion. Hunter made three 3-pointers in just under a minute and
McDyess closed the 11-4 run to put the Pistons ahead 69-48 at
"This team already has a lot of confidence," Cleveland coach
Mike Brown said. "When they go on runs like that at the end of
quarters, they tend to pounce on you."
Detroit went up 32 in the third quarter and emptied its bench
midway through the fourth with a 37-point lead.
"Thank goodness the outcome of the series doesn't have anything
to do with point differential," Brown said.
The Pistons will host Game 2 on Tuesday night in the
Ben Wallace won the defensive award for the fourth time in
five years, a person within the Pistons organization told the AP
before the game started. The source, who spoke on the condition of
anonymity because the award has not been announced, said Wallace
will be presented with the award Tuesday night. ... James played
his first second-round game in the same place he made his pro debut
on October, 7, 2003, in an exhibition game against the Pistons. ...
Detroit's previous playoff record was 12 3-pointers, a total
reached twice in 2002 against Boston. ... Four teams have made 11
3-pointers in one half of a playoff game. ... James finished second
to Phoenix's Steve Nash in the MVP voting and Billups was fifth.
... Kid Rock sat courtside, sporting a black Pistons jersey, shorts
and white socks pulled up to his knees.