CLEVELAND -- Random dribbles following the Cavaliers' thriller of a 117-111 win over the Chicago Bulls on Wednesday.
1. We all know it's early, but all you can do is go by what you see. And right now, the Cavaliers look to be a decent mix of veterans and young guys who can, at the very least, overcome their mistakes at home.
2. Something else you can currently believe: No matter where the Cavs play, first-time NBA coach John Beilein has them competing and believing. The atmosphere in the locker room has been described as that of a college team, featuring plenty of togetherness and lots of enthusiasm.
3. Basically, if the Cavs intend to tank away the season for another lottery pick, they sure aren't showing those intentions today. Just the opposite actually.
4. For starters, Tristan Thompson (23 points and 10 rebounds) is having career season. As one opposing scout told SI.com on Wednesday, "Tristan hasn't looked this good since he was playing for Team Canada back in 2016."
5. No one is really sure of his numbers then, but the facts today support the notion that Thompson has become the Cavs' most consistent threat. Not only has he recorded double-doubles in each of the first four games, but he has scored 20 or more points in back-to-back home games for the first time in his career.
6. Afterward, Beilein told a story of how Thompson came to camp in "incredible shape." Beilein put that theory to the test when he asked Thompson to run three consecutive "suicide" sprints at practice. Big men like Thompson almost never finish each sprint in less than 30 seconds. Most don't make the second in less than 30. Thompson accepted the challenge and conquered it.
7. Beilein on Thompson's feat: "I said, 'He's not going to make this,' and he made it the first time he tried. He has a great attitude about being a team leader. The more you give to others, the more you are going to get."
8. Not surprisingly, five-time All-Star Kevin Love has also been displaying a champion's mentality, particularly when it comes to crashing the glass. Love tied a franchise record with 16 rebounds in the first half, finishing with 20 for the game (along with 17 points).
9. The franchise record for a game is 25, set by Anderson Varejao on Jan. 2, 2014. Love's personal record is 31, though he did that as a member of the Minnesota Timberwolves.
10. Like Thompson, Love has posted a double-double in each of the first four games. Tyrone Hill was the last member of the Cavs to do the same, way back in the 2002-03 season.
11. Thompson and Love have spoken to each other several times about the importance of their roles as team leaders. "If me and him set the tone early, it's easier for our young guards to get going," Thompson said.
12. And get going the young guards did — as Collin Sexton (18 points) threw down a monster dunk in traffic late off a feed from Love, basically ending any hope for the poor Bulls.
13. Also, rookies Darius Garland and Kevin Porter Jr. (nine points apiece) put together some key moments — with Garland burying an unlikely corner 3-pointer and Porter slamming home a dunk of his own. Both plays took place midway through the fourth.
14. Porter on his night: "Coach put trust in me to capitalize in the fourth. If he has confidence in me, I have confidence in myself."
15. Back to Thompson. He's right. Thompson, Love and Matthew Dellavedova are the lone remaining veterans from the 2016 championship team. It's clear that those three, along with Jordan Clarkson and Larry Nance Jr., are steering the ship and seem to really enjoy helping and teaching their younger teammates. But it's Thompson and Love who primarily set the tone. "We've always had a connection," Thompson said of Love. "We've always complemented each other well."
16. Along with all that, Thompson recorded five crucial blocks, a few coming with the game in the balance and shifting the momentum in the Cavs' favor.
17. Clarkson finished with 17 points and Nance Jr. and Cedi Osman had 12 apiece. Clarkson has scored in double figures in nine straight games vs. the Bulls, the NBA's longest active streak for a reserve against that particular opponent.
18. The Cavs (2-2) trailed at the end of every quarter except the fourth.
19. Zach LaVine and Lauri Markkanen each scored 16 to lead the Bulls (1-4). Otto Porter Jr. and Wendell Carter Jr. had 15 apiece. They are a young team like the Cavs and going through some growing pains. "We haven't played as well in key moments as I hoped," Bulls coach Jim Boylen said. "But that's part of the learning process."
20. Boylen is a native of Grand Rapids, Mich., and smiled as he mentioned a few times before the game that the Cleveland weather “feels like home.” He played college basketball at Maine, so Boylan has a good feel for Northeast Ohio-type of autumns.
21. For more on the game, check out my other post: Lo and Behold, Youngsters Play Role in Firing Cavs to Victory.
22. Next up: The Cavs travel to Indiana on Friday, and the Pacers will be looking to avenge a loss In Cleveland last weekend. After that, the Cavs return home to face the Dallas Mavericks on Sunday night.