LeBron James is a perfect 10 in the first round of the NBA playoffs. As he enters his 11th postseason in 13 years, James, who is seeking a sixth straight appearance in the Finals, has a spotless record in the opening round while playing for Cleveland and Miami. And the four-time league MVP figures to continue his streak of first-round knockouts when the Cavaliers take on the Detroit Pistons starting Sunday.
Although the top-seeded Cavs are heavily favored over the eighth-seeded Pistons, James isn't taking anything for granted. "They got a well-coached, balanced team and they've fought their way into the playoffs and we have to respect them," he said. Returning to the playoffs for the first time since 2009, the young-and-talented Pistons won't be intimidated by the matchup after winning three of four — both teams rested their starters in the finale — against the Cavaliers in the regular season. Detroit's future is bright, but it's hard to imagine a team with little postseason experience taking down James. Overall, James is 40-7 in the first round and only had one series extended to six games. Pistons coach Stan Van Gundy, who has faced James before in the playoffs, knows his squad has a tough task. "It will be difficult," Van Gundy said. "They're the No. 1 seed in the East. They're a team that went to the Finals last year. They've got three All-Star-caliber guys, one probably the best player in the world. And their complementary guys are very good." Of course, the Pistons' primary objective will be to slow James, who had a fabulous finish to the regular season and is focused on returning to the Finals. James, who has also won 13 straight first-round openers, can't be guarded by one player, which presents Van Gundy and the Pistons with the dilemma of how much help to bring when he has the ball. Van Gundy, a baseball junkie, said it's like pitching to Tigers slugger Miguel Cabrera. "It's like major league hitters," he said. "If you have a hole somewhere and people find out about it and they can hit it, you're not going to be very good. If you're Miguel Cabrera and you don't have a hole — good luck. Pitch him the best you can, he's still going to hit the (snot) out of it." Here are other things to watch as the Cavs and Pistons meet in the postseason for the first time since 2008-09, when Cleveland won in four games.