DETROIT – The Cavaliers defeated the Pistons, 106-101, in Game 1 of the first-round NBA playoff series Sunday.
The eighth-seeded Pistons hung with the No. 1 Cavs, even leading by seven points early in the fourth quarter. But back-to-back three-pointers from Kevin Love and a late push on defense handed the top-seeded Cavs the opening win.
Kyrie Irving scored 31 points in his first playoff game since being injured in last year's NBA Finals and Love added 28 to lead the Cavaliers.
LeBron James added 22 points and 11 assists for the top-seeded Cavs, who are favored to win the Eastern Conference again but got all they could handle from the Pistons.
Kentavious Caldwell-Pope scored 21 and Marcus Morris 20 — but just one after halftime — for the Pistons, making their first playoff appearance since 2009. Andre Drummond had 13 points and 11 rebounds.
Detroit made 15 3-pointers, but the Pistons' playoff inexperience showed in the final minutes.
Game 2 of the series will be Wednesday night in Cleveland.