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Wrap-Up – With the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge looking on from center court, the Cavaliers honored New York’s stateside guests by crowning the shorthanded Nets – running their win streak to seven with the one-sided 110-88 win over Brooklyn on Monday night at the Barclays Center.
The affair was tight for two-and-a-half quarters, but behind a re-energized Dion Waiters, the Wine and Gold put the pedal to the medal to end the third and, by early in the fourth, Cleveland’s starters enjoyed the rest of the game from the sidelines. Five Cavaliers notched double-figures and two of them tallied double-doubles as Cleveland completed a 3-0 roadie with Toronto looming on Tuesday at The Q.
Waiters had his best game of the season, leading both clubs with 26 points – going 11-for-21 from the floor while helping to hold Brooklyn’s Deron Williams to 11 points on 3-for-14 shooting. Kevin Love followed up with 19 points and 14 boards – going 7-for-14 from the field. Love’s backup, Tristan Thompson, was just as good – adding 14 points on 6-for-7 shooting to go with 12 rebounds (eight off the offensive glass), two steals and a pair of blocked shots.
LeBron James orchestrated another brilliant game, finishing with 18 points and team-highs in assists (7) and steals (3). James Jones had his second straight solid performance, finishing 4-of-5 from beyond the arc for 12 points. Anderson Varejao added 14 boards as the Cavaliers combined for 55 rebounds on the night.
The Nets were down starters on Monday – center Robin Lopez, out with a bad back, and Joe Johnson, out with the flu.
Turning Point – The Cavs were down, 61-60 – with Kevin Love attempting a pair of free throws – when the Royals made their way down to the court. But from that point forward, it was all Wine and Gold.
After tying the game with his first shot, Love scored on a jumper on the next possession to give the Cavaliers a two-point edge, jumpstarting what would be a 24-6 to end the period. During that run, Tristan Thompson scored on three alley-oop dunks and went 4-for-4 in the quarter as Cleveland outscored the Nets, 35-18, heading to the final 12 minutes.
Scene and Heard – Completing their two-day visit to New York, Prince William, Duke of Cambridge and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge took in Monday night’s game in Brooklyn. They were greeted by America’s musical royalty – Jay-Z and Beyonce – at the third quarter break and exchanged gifts with LeBron James following Cleveland’s win. LeBron presented them with cupcakes and a Cavaliers jersey for their expecting newborn.
By the Numbers – 59 … bench points by the Cavaliers, a season-high. Cleveland gets 82 percent of its offense from the starters, but on Monday, their second unit actually outscored them by eight. Coach Blatt even joked after the game that his reserves might have tied their total for the entire year. Matthew Dellavedova only notched two of those 29 points, but it was great to see him back in the rotation after being sidelined with a sprained knee since November 4.
Quotable – Kevin Love, on attempting free throws while the Duke and Duchess were entering the arena …
”It was a little bit more of a distraction than people waving their towels. I tried to make the second shot, but it fell about a foot short.”
Up Next – The Cavaliers return home for just one game this week, but it’s a big one, as they take on the Atlantic-leading – but recently-slumping – Raptors, who Cleveland beat by two touchdowns last Friday night in Toronto. After Tuesday’s night’s contest against the Raps, it’s right back on the road for another difficult back-to-back – facing off against Kevin Durant, Michael Westbrook and the Raptors on Thursday night before traveling to New Orleans to take on Anthony Davis and Pelicans on Friday. Following that set, the Wine and Gold are home until a Christmas Day matchup in Miami.