Thursday, December 14, 2017
Sports

Cavaliers one victory from Round 1 sweep of Pistons

AUBURN HILLS, Mich. — LeBron James had 20 points and 13 rebounds, and Kyrie Irving made a pair of big 3-pointers down the stretch to help the Cavaliers move within a game of a first-round sweep with a 101-91 victory over the Pistons on Friday night.

Irving scored 26 for Cleveland, which overcame a gritty effort by the Pistons in Detroit's first home playoff game since 2009. The Pistons fell behind toward the end of the third quarter, and their late rally came up short.

The Cavaliers lead the Eastern Conference series 3-0, with Game 4 on Sunday night.

Andre Drummond scored 17 for the Pistons, who have lost 11 straight playoff games against Cleveland. They have lost nine in a row overall in the postseason.

Down by nine in the fourth, Detroit went on an 8-0 run, forcing the Cavs to call timeout. Irving responded with a 3-pointer, and J.R. Smith hit one to make it 95-90. Irving made it an eight-point game with a 3-pointer in the final minute.

Cleveland methodically built a 79-73 lead after three quarters, and after a three-point play and a 3-pointer by James early in the fourth, the Cavaliers were up by nine. It was 87-86 after Detroit's run, but the 3s by Irving and Smith helped Cleveland hold on.

Cavaliers 101, Pistons 91

CLEVELAND (101): James 8-24 3-5 20, Love 7-10 5-6 20, Thompson 4-7 0-1 8, Irving 11-20 1-1 26, Smith 3-9 0-0 9, Shumpert 2-5 0-0 6, Jefferson 0-0 0-0 0, Dellavedova 4-5 2-2 12, Frye 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 39-80 11-15 101.

DETROIT (91): Harris 6-10 0-0 13, Morris 5-11 6-6 16, Drummond 8-14 1-6 17, Jackson 5-16 2-2 13, Caldwell-Pope 7-14 1-1 18, Tolliver 1-2 0-0 2, Blake 0-1 0-0 0, Baynes 1-2 1-2 3, Johnson 3-4 2-2 9. Totals 36-74 13-19 91.

Cleveland 24 30 25 22— 101

Detroit 27 26 20 18— 91

3-Point GoalsCleveland 12-29 (Irving 3-6, Smith 3-8, Dellavedova 2-3, Shumpert 2-3, Love 1-3, James 1-6), Detroit 6-23 (Caldwell-Pope 3-8, Johnson 1-1, Harris 1-3, Jackson 1-8, Tolliver 0-1, Morris 0-2). Fouled OutNone. ReboundsCleveland 51 (James 13), Detroit 38 (Drummond, Harris 7). AssistsCleveland 24 (James 7), Detroit 22 (Jackson 12). Total FoulsCleveland 17, Detroit 19. TechnicalsDrummond.

Celtics 111, Hawks 103: Isaiah Thomas scored a career-high 42 and the host Celtics held on to win Game 3 of the Eastern Conference series. Evan Turner, inserted into the starting lineup, had 17 points and seven assists as the Celtics cut their series deficit to 2-1. Boston led by as many as 20 in the first half before seeing that mostly erased by a 12-0 Hawks run in the third quarter. The Celtics survived a frenetic fourth quarter that featured three ties and a pair of lead changes, finally getting separation with five straight points for a 104-98 lead. Jeff Teague had 23 points for Atlanta.

Celtics 111, Hawks 103

ATLANTA (103): Bazemore 8-19 2-3 20, Millsap 3-9 2-2 8, Horford 4-10 0-0 8, Teague 7-17 9-9 23, Korver 6-10 0-0 17, Sefolosha 0-2 1-2 1, Muscala 0-2 0-0 0, Schroder 8-14 4-5 20, Hardaway Jr. 0-0 0-0 0, Scott 2-3 0-0 6, Hinrich 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 38-86 18-21 103.

BOSTON (111): Crowder 1-11 1-4 4, Jerebko 5-12 0-0 11, Johnson 7-8 1-2 15, Thomas 12-24 13-15 42, Turner 6-14 4-6 17, Sullinger 1-2 2-2 4, Smart 3-6 3-4 11, Hunter 1-1 0-0 2, Rozier 2-4 0-0 5. Totals 38-82 24-33 111.

Atlanta 20 25 33 25— 103

Boston 37 20 22 32— 111

3-Point GoalsAtlanta 9-36 (Korver 5-9, Scott 2-3, Bazemore 2-8, Millsap 0-1, Sefolosha 0-2, Muscala 0-2, Horford 0-3, Schroder 0-4, Teague 0-4), Boston 11-32 (Thomas 5-12, Smart 2-4, Rozier 1-2, Turner 1-3, Jerebko 1-4, Crowder 1-7). Fouled OutKorver. ReboundsAtlanta 48 (Horford 13), Boston 56 (Jerebko 12). AssistsAtlanta 19 (Horford 6), Boston 23 (Turner 7). Total FoulsAtlanta 24, Boston 20. TechnicalsSchroder, Thomas. Flagrant Fouls—Millsap, Schroder, Sullinger.

NBA: Harden fouled on winning shot: The Rockets' James Harden should have been given an offensive foul for pushing the Warriors' Andre Iguodala before his winning shot in Game 3 late Thursday, the league said. The Rockets trailed by a point when Harden dribbled down the court and pushed off on Iguodala before stepping back for the shot with 2.7 seconds left that gave Houston a 97-96 win and cut its series deficit to 2-1.

Curry: ready for Game 4: The Warriors' Stephen Curry said he would be very surprised if his sprained right ankle kept him out of Game 4 against the Rockets on Sunday. Curry was injured in the series opener and missed the past two games. Curry played a couple of games of 3-on-3 during practice Friday to test the ankle. Physically he felt good, he said, but his explosion and change of direction were "awful" because he was rusty. Curry was to play in a 5-on-5 scrimmage today, and how he feels after that will be important in deciding if he can return in Game 4.

Spurs-Grizzlies: Memphis rookie forward Jarell Martin will be out "quite a while" with an injured left foot that had him out of Friday's late Game 3 of the Western Conference series, coach Dave Joerger said.

Around the league: Trail Blazers guard CJ McCollum was named the most improved player in his first season as a starter. His scoring average improved by 14-plus points over last year.

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