Originally posted on Fox Sports Ohio  |  Last updated 12/30/11
Thoughts and observations on the Cavaliers 98-91 overtime loss at Indiana on Friday night: Byron Scott said something afterward that should make Cavs fans proud: The fight was there. The Cavs coach added, I know were a better team than we were last year. Amen and double amen. Honestly, did you envision the Cavs being so much fun so soon? I confess, I sure didnt. Kyrie Irving may have missed a layup that would have won it at the regulation buzzer, but Im still impressed he was even able to get to the basket in the first place. Irving was fantastic, making six of his first seven shots on his way to a team-high 20 points. This is beside the point, and its very early. But if the Cavs continue to play like they did Friday and in Wednesdays win at Detroit, Ill enjoy watching these guys more than any Cavs team since the good old days of Brad Daugherty, Mark Price and Larry Nance. Yes, Im old. I also really appreciate the character of this Cavs team. Not just off the floor, either. What especially caught my eye was how they battled back after throwing up brick after brick after brick in the third quarter. They had every reason to get blown out of the gym against a good team on the road and refused to let that happen. As Scott said, this year isnt last year. Another reason I enjoy these guys is because they seem oblivious to the fact theyre not supposed to be any good. Thats particularly appears to be the case with Irving and fellow rookie Tristan Thompson. All most fans hope is that the Cavs give them reason to cheer. Last season was such a train wreck, that was rarely possible. Through three games, it looks like that will no longer be a problem. Irving said he felt like his potential game-winner would fall when released. Thought it was, but it wasnt meant to go in, I guess, he said. Scott added, "Ten games from now, hell make those shots. I love the fact he wants the ball. Thats a great sign." Indiana shot 38 percent, but the Cavs cant necessarily take all the credit. Thats the Pacers average on the season. Remarkably, theyre 3-0 despite it. But as Anthony Parker indicated, the Pacers truly are indeed a good team. Theyre my pick to finish second in the Central Division (behind Chicago). They love to defend and rebound, winning the war on the boards, 60-49. On the bright side, the Cavs never backed down. We fought, Parker said. Theyre a good, physical team, and I thought we matched that for most of the night. After two outstanding performances, the Cavs bench wasnt nearly as effective. It had been averaging a league-high 53.5 points but manufactured just 29 on Monday. Ramon Sessions (6 points) and Samardo Samuels (5 points, 0 rebounds) struggled mightily. One positive, however, was Alonzo Gee. Thankfully, he has been very good at small forward, as starter Omri Casspi has been ineffective. Finally, no less than the Cavs owner Dan Gilbert said it best when referring to the horrendous free-throw shooting 18-for-31. Had we made FT's we would have been on way back to Clev. with the win, Gilbert posted to his Twitter account. Still very proud of how these guys battled. The Cavs return home Sunday for a game against New Jersey. That's very winnable. So is Tuesday vs. Charlotte. It'd be nice for them to get those two since they'll be on the road from Jan. 4 through 2017. Not really, but it will probably seem like it. Follow Sam Amico on Twitter @SamAmicoFSO
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