Originally posted on Fox Sports Ohio  |  Last updated 1/25/12
Random thoughts following the Cavaliers 92-85 loss at Miami on Tuesday: Thats more like it. That is probably how Cavs fans felt after watching their discomforting defeats over the weekend -- then witnessing how they fought to the finish against LeBron James and the Heat. Best of all, it makes you think what Cavs forward Antawn Jamison said at practice Monday is true: Last year is last year. In other words, maybe fans can finally get over fretting whether there is another long and unbearable losing streak on the way. This Cavs team, it appears, is competitive and watchable. Then again, we are talking about Cleveland sports fans. Were born to expect the worst. OK, I agree. The Cavs werent exactly a sight to behold against the Heat. They committed 20 turnovers and are leaving themselves open to question about whether there are more than two guys on the team who can make a fundamental pass. Actually, a fundamental pass isnt the issue. Its the forced ones that often result in a dumb mistake. As rookie guard Kyrie Irving (17 points, four assists) said, We have to make simple plays and cherish the basketball. Turnovers lose games for us. Its true. If the Cavs had just held on to the ball, they likely would have pulled the upset -- even if they didnt score another single point. Thats because all those turnovers lead to easy scoring opportunities for the other team. Of course, its not like the Heat put on a ball-handling clinic themselves. Their biggest problem in this season of championship expectations also has been taking care of the ball. A more experienced team probably would have blown them out of the gym Tuesday. As for that LeBron guy, he wasnt his usual superstar self, finishing with 18 points on just 8-for-21 shooting. He still looks like uncomfortable and timid with his back to the basket -- despite spending much of the off-season on the low block and learning from former Houston Rockets great Hakeem Olajuwon. Speaking of LeBron, my favorite thing about this game was the feeling I got that Cavs fans are placing less of their focus on despising James and more on caring about their own team. That made this a basketball game that real fans could appreciate, as opposed to a pointless hate-fest. Anyway, not enough can be said about how Samardo Samuels came off the bench and gave the Cavs physical play and energy -- especially since they were without rookie Tristan Thompson (ankle). Samuels made his first six shots and finished with 15 points and five rebounds. Without him, this wouldnt have been nearly as close. Also, I thought for sure Irving was due for an off night, and understandably so. Hes been fantastic in every game except maybe the two losses to Toronto, and even then he wasnt bad. On Tuesday, he took just four shots in the first half for two points. But he was outstanding in the final two quarters, with his crossover move on poor Heat rookie Norris Cole (Cleveland State) making the highlight reels. More importantly, Irving kept his team in the game -- as hes so often able to do when all else seems lost. The kid just seems like a natural born winner. Meanwhile, I wrote a few stories on Cole last season when he was with the Vikings, and I can tell you hes a polite and level-headed kid who appreciates playing in the NBA. The Cavs scouted him on a few occasions, and both GM Chris Grant and vice president of basketball operations David Griffin left impressed with the total package. So far, Cole has not disappointed. On a down note, Jamison just hasnt been himself lately, and the Cavs need him to return to form -- or the losses are likely to continue. Jamison is averaging 20.3 points in the Cavs six wins, but just 12.6 per game in defeat. In the past three games, hes scored four, 10 and five points, and made just 6 of 24 shots. Finally, the Knicks are in town Wednesday night, and yes, they are one of the teams the Cavs could be battling for an actual playoff spot. That might sound weird, considering the Knicks have big names like Carmelo Anthony, Amare Stoudemire and Tyson Chandler on the roster. Dont be surprised if we see old friend (well, acquaintance) Baron Davis make his Knicks debut. If so, hell probably get a standing O. Tip-off is 7 p.m. Also, Ill have some news and notes from around the league on the Cavaliers Live pregame show at 6:30 on FOX Sports Ohio. Follow Sam Amico on Twitter @SamAmicoFSO
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