CLEVELAND’S LEBRON JAMES, right, drives to the basket against Toronto’s Patrick Patterson (54) in the first half in Game 1 of a second-round NBA basketball playoff series on Monday in Cleveland.

CLEVELAND’S LEBRON JAMES, right, drives to the basket against Toronto’s Patrick Patterson (54) in the first half in Game 1 of a second-round NBA basketball playoff series on Monday in Cleveland.

CLEVELAND

LeBron James resisted drinking some beer. He downed the Raptors again instead.

James grabbed a bottle of beer on the sideline while scoring 35 points, Kyrie Irving added 24 and the Cleveland Cavaliers picked up where they left off following a long layoff and throttled Toronto 116-105 on Monday night in the opener of their Eastern Conference semifinal.

The Cavs hadn’t played since April 23, when they completed a four-game sweep of Indiana. But the defending champions didn’t show signs of rust and were well-prepared to face the revenge-seeking Raptors, who lost to Cleveland in last year’s conference finals.

“That was the mystery coming into the game, how we would come out?” James said. “Obviously you prepare, you want to come out and play well, but you never know after an eight-day layoff. But the energy was phenomenal.”

Toronto dropped to 1-12 in playoff openers, and the Raptors got blown out in the playoffs for the fourth straight time in Cleveland.

Game 2 is Wednesday night.

Kyle Lowry scored 20 and DeMar DeRozan 19 for the Raptors, who were within seven in the third quarter before James dropped a 3-pointer, converted a three-point play, drained another 3 and then considered washing down a brew — a moment he said wasn’t planned.

Rockets 126, Spurs 99

SAN ANTONIO (AP) — The Houston Rockets were willing to take whatever the Spurs gave them in Game 1 of the Western Conference semifinals.

Houston ended up with a record-setting offensive performance, a huge boost in confidence and home-court advantage.

Trevor Ariza scored 23 points, James Harden added 20 points and 14 rebounds, and the Rockets stormed past San Antonio on Monday night, the Spurs’ worst loss in a series opener under Gregg Popovich.

“Just taking what the defense gives us,” Harden said. “Last series (against Oklahoma City) was a more grind-it-out. We weren’t really making a lot of 3s. We had to figure a way to get paint points and in this series so far they gave opportunities to shoot 3s.”

The Rockets were 22 for 50 behind the arc, the most 3s attempted and made against the Spurs in their long postseason history.

Houston had six players in double figures, including 20 points and 13 rebounds from Clint Capela.

“They came out ready, they outplayed us tonight,” said Spurs forward LaMarcus Aldridge, who was held to four points. “They made most of their shots. Guys competed, but I thought we made mistakes early. They took advantage of it. Once they had offensive rhythm they were rolling. And we never really found ours.”

Game 2 is Wednesday in San Antonio.

Houston led by as many as 39 points, including a 30- point lead in the first half, in the opener of the first series between the rivals since the Rockets’ victory in the 1995 Western Conference finals.


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