MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) – Kevin Love had 17 points and 13 rebounds, Richard Jefferson had 14 points and the Cleveland Cavaliers built a big early advantage and wrecked the Memphis Grizzlies’ season opener with a 106-76 victory Wednesday night.
Cleveland capitalized on Memphis’ shooting woes, building a double-digit lead in the first quarter and extending the margin to 32 in the fourth. The Cavaliers lost their season opener to the Bulls 97-95 on Tuesday night.
LeBron James, Jared Cunningham and Matthew Dellavedova had 12 points each, with James 4 of 13 from the field. Jefferson was five of six, including all three 3-point tries, part of Cleveland shooting 45 percent from beyond the arc.
Zach Randolph and Marc Gasol led the Grizzlies with 12 points apiece. Gasol and Tony Allen (six points) were the only Memphis players to make at least half their shots, and the Grizzlies shot 35 percent.
Memphis erased part of the Cleveland first-half advantage, but the deficit was just too deep to overcome after halftime, particularly since the Cavaliers shot so well from 3-point range.
By the midpoint of the fourth quarter, both teams were deep into their reserves.
The Grizzlies suffered through a first half full of mistakes, poor shooting and an anemic defense that allowed the Cavaliers to shoot better than 50 percent for most of the first half.
That contributed to a 53-32 lead at halftime after the Cavaliers took the advantage to as much as 28 in the first two quarters.
Cavaliers: At one point late in the first half, the Cavs were shooting 57.1 percent from 3-point range (8 of 14) better than their overall percentage of 55.3 percent (21 of 38). . The Cavaliers swept last season’s two games against Memphis by an average margin of 18 points. . Cleveland made 13 3-pointers. It was fourth in the league last year with just over 10 3-pointers a game. . James has now reached double figures in 643 straight games.
Grizzlies: Like many teams, the Grizzlies held a moment of silence for Minnesota Timberwolves coach Flip Saunders, who died Sunday from cancer. . Memphis made only four of its first 25 shots, contributing to a 21-point Cavs lead early in the second quarter. . While Jeff Green started at SF for Memphis, he played only 7 minutes in the first half and Tony Allen started the second half. . Memphis beat the Minnesota Timberwolves in last year’s season opener, the only time Memphis has started 1-0 since the franchise moved from Vancouver in 2001.
Cavaliers: Play home opener Friday against Miami Heat.
Grizzlies: Travel to Indiana on Thursday.
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