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Cavaliers put on royal performance in Brooklyn



NEW YORK — Dion Waiters admitted to sneaking a few peeks in the crowd to see Prince William and Duchess Kate Middleton.

The looks that the reserve guard had at the basket were even more important for the surging Cleveland Cavaliers.

Waiters scored a season-high 26 points, and the Cavaliers stretched their winning streak to seven games with a 110-88 rout of the Brooklyn Nets on Monday night at Barclays Center

“I glanced,” Waiters said. “You always got to check your surroundings and see how things are going. I wanted to see why everyone started going crazy. It’s always good to see things like that that you don’t get to see, and I’m happy that they were able to come to our game and we were able to put on a show for them.”

Forward LeBron James scored the first nine points of the third quarter and totaled 18 points and seven assists as the Cavaliers (12-7) improved to 10-3 against Eastern Conference opponents. Afterward, he gave the royal couple a Cleveland jersey for 1-year-old son, George.

“They took time out of their busy lives to come here and to watch our sport and watch our team, and it means a lot,” James said.

Forward Kevin Love added 19 points and 14 rebounds for his fifth consecutive double-double and 10th overall, helping Cleveland to a 55-33 advantage on the glass.

Waiters led a reserve unit that totaled 59 points and surpassed his previous season high of 20 set Nov. 17 against the Denver Nuggets. He shot 11-for-21 from the floor in 30 minutes on a night when point guard Kyrie Irving was held to seven points on 2-of-10 shooting. Waiters shot 12-for-37 over his previous five games after being the most productive reserve in the Eastern Conference last season.

“I couldn’t miss so much,” Waiters said. “I worked so hard, they got to fall, they got to fall, and tonight they fell.”

Added Cleveland forward James Jones: “It’s not going to be perfect, but I think he’s learning how to deal with the frustration and how to overcome the frustration and how to deal with it. I think he’s turned that corner.

Half of Waiters’ points came before the royal family arrived to their courtside seats next to former NBA center Dikembe Mutombo near the seven-minute mark of the third quarter with the game tied 61-61. Waiters had six points as Cleveland surged ahead with a 24-6 run over the final 6 1/2 minutes for an 85-67 lead heading into the fourth.

“Waiters played a great game at both ends of the court,” Cavaliers coach David Blatt said. “Everybody that stepped on the court gave us something. When we get that kind of bench contribution, we’re going to be tough to beat.”

Cleveland took the lead for good on a 16-footer by Love midway through the third. The Nets were within 68-65 on a layup by backup center Jerome Jordan but missed 10 of their final 11 shots of the period and never threatened again.

“Early on in the third, we were scoring and kind of staying with (Cleveland), but we had that lull, not making shots and turning the ball over, and next thing you know, we are down 10, 11,” Brooklyn coach Lionel Hollins said. “Then next thing you know, we are down 19, and we weren’t able to sustain or make a push back after that.”

Kevin Garnett started at center in place of Brook Lopez (back) for the Nets and had 14 points and seven rebounds. The Nets also were without forward Joe Johnson (flu).

“We have to be prepared for the third quarter,” Garnett said. “I think we put together a good half, but when you’re playing a team like this that’s contending for a title and trying to find an identity, I think it’s important to come out and put two halves together.”

Nets guard Deron Williams was held to 13 points on 3-of-14 shooting from the floor, though he added 11 assists.

Besides playing without Lopez and Johnson, the Nets also lost forward Mirza Teletovic in the third quarter because of a hip pointer and a facial laceration that required four stitches.

NOTES: Cleveland F LeBron James and G Kyrie Irving wore T-shirts that said “I Can’t Breathe” during pregame warmups as their way of speaking out about the non-indictment in the Eric Garner case. The shirts were given to them by Nets G Jarrett Jack, who also wore one, as did three of his teammates. “It’s more a notion to the family than anything,” James said. “Obviously, as a society we have to do better, we have to do better for one another. It doesn’t matter what race you are.” … Brooklyn C Brook Lopez (back) missed his 140th game since the start of the 2011-12 season, but it was the first time he was absent due to a non-foot injury. Lopez is expected to miss three more games after Monday. … Cleveland F Mike Miller (concussion) missed his second game in a row.

Up to the minute news and reports from the news wire of The Sports Xchange.

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