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West returns as Cavaliers maul Pistons

DELONTE West returned from a six-week injury layoff to score 25 points in three quarters and power the Cleveland Cavaliers to a 99-78 rout of the Detroit Pistons on Sunday.

West, who had missed 16 games since breaking his right wrist on January 15, showed no effects of his forced absence as he poured in 13 first-quarter points and had 20 by halftime.

"Once your adrenaline gets going, it is hard to feel the injury," West told reporters. "I was happy with the way I played...we really exploded."

Cavaliers All-Star LeBron James, who scored 55 points against Milwaukee on Friday, added 20 in three quarters. He also contributed nine assists and five rebounds.

Allen Iverson's 14 points led the Pistons, who have lost their last six games. Reserve Walter Herrmann added 13 as Detroit made only 37.2 percent of its shots.

In other National Basketball Association games, it was: Rockets 99, Bobcats 78; Celtics 128, Suns 108; Lakers 111, Timberwolves 108; Raptors 111, Knicks 100; Pacers 98, Bulls 91; Magic 122, Heat 99; Trail Blazers 116, Clippers 87; and Bucks 120, Nuggets 117.

In Cleveland, the Central Division-leading Cavaliers took control of the game early, outscoring the Pistons 31-17 in the first period and increasing the lead to 67-34 at the half.

West personally scored as many points as the beleaguered Pistons in the first seven minutes of the game. His three-pointer after 6:57 gave him eight points, matching Detroit's output.

The shot triggered a 15-0 run by the Cavaliers, who turned a 9-8 lead into a 24-8 rout.

James had seven of his points in the run as Cleveland, back with its preferred lineup for the first time since December 30, moved within a half-game of Boston for the Eastern Conference lead.

Center Zydrunas Ilgauskas added 16 points and eight rebounds. Reserve Wally Szcerbiak had 15 points and starting guard Mo Williams 11.

In Houston, Ron Artest scored 26 points, Yao Ming added 19 points and seven rebounds and Houston beat Charlotte in another win without Tracy McGrady.

Luis Scola had 12 points and 10 rebounds and Shane Battier sank three three-pointers for the Rockets, who've won four straight games and eight of the last nine McGrady has missed with a sore left knee. McGrady said he'll have season-ending surgery, but Houston is 15-6 without him this season.

Raymond Felton, Boris Diaw and Emeka Okafor scored 13 points apiece for the Bobcats.


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