AUBURN HILLS, Mich. (AP) -The Cavaliers came up big in the post, but their backcourt was a bust.
Starting guards Sasha Pavlovic and Larry Hughes combined for 21 points on 8-of-27 shooting, and Cleveland lost Game 1 of the Eastern Conference final 79-76 to Detroit on Monday night.
With LeBron James having one of his worst playoff games, with 10 points and no free throws in 45 minutes, the Cavaliers leaned heavily on their big guys for offense - and they delivered.
Zydrunas Ilgauskas finished with 22 points and 13 rebounds in 35 minutes. The center's only mistake was coming up short on a jumper that would have tied the game at 78 with 15 seconds to play.
The 31-year-old Lithuanian showed early he was ready for a big night, pulling down three straight offensive rebounds before scoring on his fourth shot of a single first-quarter possession.
Meanwhile, Anderson Varejao was steady off the bench, scoring 13 points on 6-of-9 shooting in 27 minutes. He also had eight rebounds.
Ilgauskas picked up the pace again in the fourth, pulling Cleveland within 71-70 with another tip-in, then hitting a 21-foot jumper to put the Cavaliers up by a point with 3:35 to play.
After Detroit's next two baskets, Ilgauskas had answers, hitting a baseline jumper and two free throws to put the Cavaliers up 76-75.
It still wasn't enough, as the Cavaliers couldn't get a defensive stop when they needed one in the fourth quarter.
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