AUBURN HILLS, Mich. (AP) – LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers made the Detroit Pistons’ inspired effort moot.

James had 25 points, 11 rebounds and nine assists, leading the Cavaliers to a 79-68 victory Friday night and a 3-0 lead in the first-round series.

The Pistons, whose collective heart was questioned by one of their players, played hard for three-plus quarters before being rendered helpless by James.

He had an alley-oop slam midway through the fourth quarter during an 18-2 run that started after the sixth tie of the game.

James had help, getting a career playoff-high 19 points and 10 rebounds from Joe Smith, and 13 points from Zydrunas Ilgauskas.

Detroit coach Michael Curry said the Pistons needed both Rasheed Wallace and Tayshaun Prince to play well to have a chance to win, and neither did.

Wallace scored just five points, looking old, banged up and disinterested. Prince scored seven points in the first quarter and was held scoreless the rest of the game, laboring with a sore back.

Detroit’s Richard Hamilton had 15 points, eight rebounds and six assists, while Rodney Stuckey contributed 12 points and five assists.

Antonio McDyess, who had eight points and eight rebounds, lamented the fact that his team went through the motions when it lost the first two games of the series on the road by an average of 15 points.

76ers 96, Magic 94

PHILADELPHIA – Held in check all night, Thaddeus Young delivered at the end.

Young’s driving layup with 2 seconds left lifted Philadelphia to a 96-94 victory over the Orlando Magic on Friday night, giving the 76ers a surprising 2-1 lead in their Eastern Conference first-round series.

Dwight Howard had 34 points for the Magic, who won 59 games during the regular season. Andre Iguodala led the Sixers with 29, though he missed two free throws in the final minute.


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