CLEVELAND (AP) — LeBron James got his 52nd career triple-double, Kyrie Irving scored 26 points and the Cleveland Cavaliers used a blazing start to overpower the Detroit Pistons 128-96 on Tuesday night.
James picked up his 10th triple-double of the season and third in the last four games at the 3:45 mark of the third quarter. In only 28 minutes, the four-time MVP finished with 16 points, 11 rebounds and 12 assists.
Cleveland had lost four of five, but James helped them cruise in this one. He even overpowered a teammate at one point, flattening Irving while grabbing a rebound in the third quarter. James helped Irving to his feet then dribbled the ball up the floor.
Cleveland’s hot shooting buried Detroit early. The Cavaliers made their first 10 3-pointers and started by hitting 22 of 25 shots for a 60-33 lead early in the second quarter.
Iman Shumpert scored a season-high 18 points for Cleveland, which is 3-5 in March but still leads Boston by 2 1/2 games for the best record in the Eastern Conference.
Tobias Harris led Detroit with 17 points. The Pistons are seventh in the East but are in a tight battle with several teams for a playoff spot.
Detroit used a fourth-quarter rally to defeat Cleveland last week at the Palace of Auburn Hills. The Cavaliers went ahead four minutes into the game and removed any idea the Pistons may have had of pulling another surprise.
Andre Drummond had 14 rebounds and Marcus Morris scored 13 points for the Pistons.
Cleveland made 19 of 30 3-pointers and shot 60 percent from the field.
Larry Sanders, signed by the Cavaliers on Monday, played the final 1:58 and missed his only shot attempt while recording two fouls.
The Cavaliers also received encouraging news before the game about Kevin Love. The forward, who had knee surgery last month, is expected to return during the team’s road trip that begins Saturday.
Pistons: Harris (bruised left knee) did not practice Monday but made his third straight start. Harris has appeared in all 67 games this season. … Detroit was 17 of 52 from the field in the first half.
Cavaliers: Sanders will probably spend two weeks at Canton of the NBA Development League before playing for Cleveland. … G Kyle Korver (sore left foot) participated in on-court drills Tuesday. He’s missed the last three games.
Pistons: Host Utah on Wednesday. The Jazz beat Detroit 110-77 on Jan. 13 in Salt Lake City.
Cavaliers: Host Utah on Thursday. Cleveland is 15-6 against the Jazz at Quicken Loans Arena.