Mon, Apr 20, 2009 - Page 20 News List

NBA: James stars as Cavaliers triumph in playoff opener

REUTERS AND AP , NEW YORK AND BOSTON

LeBron James scored 38 points, including a near-midcourt three-pointer, to spark the Cleveland Cavaliers to a 102-84 victory over the Detroit Pistons in their Eastern Conference playoff opener on Saturday.

James, who also had eight rebounds and seven assists, banked in the long three-pointer to give top-seeded Cleveland a 12-point lead. Eight-seeded Detroit never recovered.

James capped a 22-point first half with his momentum-building three-pointer.

“Once we let him get going downhill like that, game over,” the Pistons’ Tayshaun Price said.

James launched the shot from a step inside midcourt.

“When it brings the house down, the crowd is going crazy ... anytime you can make a shot like that,” he said.

Rodney Stuckey led Detroit with 20 points. Game two is tomorrow in Cleveland.

Meanwhile, in Boston Derrick Rose had 36 points and 11 assists in his playoff debut to help the Bulls beat the Celtics 105-103 in overtime Saturday.

Tyrus Thomas made a jumper from the corner with 51 seconds left in overtime to lead the Bulls past the defending NBA champions in Game One of the best-of-seven series.

Rajon Rondo had 29 points, nine rebounds and seven assists for Boston.

Paul Pierce scored 23 points on 8-of-21 shooting, but missed the potential winning free throw at the end of regulation and had a potential tying basket blocked with 3.7 seconds left in overtime.

Ray Allen, who had four points on 1-for-12 shooting, had a chance to send it to a second overtime but his jumper bounced off the back of the rim.

Game Two is tonight in Boston, the anniversary of the 1986 playoff game when Michael Jordan scored 63 points against Boston — in a Chicago loss. In fact, Chicago had not beaten the Celtics in 10 postseason games since the Chicago Stags topped the Celtics in the 1948 Basketball Association of America quarter-finals.

At Portland, Oregon, Yao Ming scored 24 points, all in the first half, as Houston spoiled Portland’s back-in-the playoffs euphoria with a 108-81 win.

Yao, who also had nine rebounds, hit all nine of his attempts from the field and all six of his free throws. He did not attempt a shot in the second half and sat for all of the fourth quarter.

Aaron Brooks added 27 points for the Rockets.

Game Two is tomorrow night in Portland.

In the other playoff game, Josh Howard scored 25 points to lead Dallas past San Antonio for its first road playoff victory since its NBA finals run in 2006.

Tim Duncan scored 27 points, and Tony Parker had 24 for the Spurs.

Game Two is tonight in San Antonio.

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