NBA roundup: Cleveland Cavaliers crush Detroit Pistons; Russell Westbrook guides Thunder to win
Cleveland Cavaliers for producing their best performance of the season in a blowout victory over the Pistons, while Westbrook guided Thunder to win.
Los Angeles: LeBron James hailed the Cleveland Cavaliers for producing their best performance of the season in a blowout victory over the Detroit Pistons on Friday while Russell Westbrook reached a statistical milestone with his fourth triple double of the year.
James had been rested for the Cavaliers in Wednesday's surprise loss against the Indiana Pacers, but was back in the starting line-up on Friday to score 21 points in a 104-81 win.
Kyrie Irving topscored with 25 points and added 11 assists while Kevin Love finished with 12 points and 13 rebounds in a formidable all-round display.
"Offensively and defensively this is the best we've played all year," James said after a win saw the Cavs improve to 10-2.
It was the 12th consecutive game in which the Cavs have made at least 10 three-pointers, an NBA record.
Head coach Tyronn Lue however was less emphatic, stating that hard work had obscured mistakes.
"We made some mistakes, but we played hard," Lue said. "When you play hard, you can cover for mistakes. I thought we did a great job of just playing hard in that first half."
'We got crushed'
The defeat continues Detroit's poor record on the road this season. The Pistons have now gone 1-7 on their travels, and coach Stan Van Gundy was in no mood to mince his words after Friday's rout.
"We got crushed," Van Gundy said. "They did everything better. We were just awful."
In Oklahoma City, Westbrook and the Thunder were similarly convincing winners against the visiting Brooklyn Nets, coming home 124-05.
Westbrook's latest triple double -- in which he scored 30 points -- helped him become only the second player after the legendary Oscar Robertson to reach 13,000 points, 3,400 rebounds and 4,500 assists inside his first 600 career games.
"He's unique. Really unique," Nets coach Kenny Atkinson said of Westbrook.
"Everything he brings to the table is competitiveness. How fast he is, how strong he is. Very impressive player."
In Boston meanwhile, Kevin Durant reminded Boston what they missed out on as the Golden State Warriors romped to a 104-88 win at the TD Garden.
Durant, who was aggressively courted by the Celtics this year before deciding to join Golden State in a blockbuster move from Oklahoma City, was booed relentlessly by the home fans throughout.
However it did little to throw Durant off his game as he finished with 23 points, 10 rebounds and seven assists.
The highlight was a spectacular play in the second half, when the Warriors broke quickly.
Stephen Curry floated a pass up to Durant who soared above the cover to smash in a one-hand alley-oop that finally drew applause from the crowd.
"(Curry) tossed it up and I was just trying my best to go get it," Durant said. "We've been working on that in practice."
Elsewhere Friday, the San Antonio Spurs were made to work all the way by the resurgent Los Angeles Lakers before claiming a 116-107 win at the Staples Center.
Kawhi Leonard and LaMarcus Aldridge each scored 23 points for the Spurs, who improved to 10-3 while the Lakers slipped to 7-6.
In New Orleans, Anthony Davis turned in another dazzling individual performance with 38 points as the Pelicans grabbed only their third win of the season, downing Portland 113-101.
While Davis' masterclass helped keep his average above 30 points per game this season, the win also marked the return to duty of Jrue Holiday.
Holiday, who has missed the first 12 games of the campaign to care for his wife, Lauren, who underwent brain surgery after giving birth to the couple's first child, showed no sign of rustiness with 21 points from the bench.
"These guys made it easy for me," Holiday said. "We were trying to get into the rhythm and I think the way they were moving the ball before I came just kind of helped. They were all really encouraging and they were passing the ball and looking for me so it felt good."
Japan has seen the number of infections decline following a record spike last month, which prompted the government to expand and extended virus restrictions, despite the national vaccination programme ramping up.
India's Ajeetesh Sandhu opened with a solid three-under 69, even as compatriot Shubhankar Sharma fought back superbly on the second nine to card two-under 70 in the first round of the Dutch Open golf tournament.
The 18-year-old Briton became the first qualifier in history to win a Grand Slam when she defeated 19-year-old Canadian Leylah Fernandez 6-4, 6-3 at Arthur Ashe Stadium on Saturday.