CLEVELAND - Need a cure for an 0-2 start? No problem. Just hang out with the Minnesota Timberwolves and Charlotte Bobcats for the weekend.
But the Cavaliers' two consecutive victories -- which included a 90-79 win over visiting Charlotte on Saturday -- goes beyond just evening their record while picking on lesser opponents. It also provided them time to develop what is clearly a work in progress. Or in the case of the revamped Cavs, a work toward greatness.
Basically, it's hard to iron out kinks when you open against the Boston Celtics every year. But hey, it makes for great TV.
No matter, it appears the Cavs we knew and loved from last season are just about back.
Actually, thanks to Delonte West, they were definitely back for one night -- as West checked into a game for the first time this season at the 4:22 mark of the first quarter. Some fans cheered wildly, others got tears in their eyes, all of them gave him a standing ovation.
Interestingly, when West took the court, he joined LeBron James, Zydrunas Ilgauskas, Anderson Varejao and Mo Williams. That's the same five that started last season on the way to a 66-16 record.
Shaquille O'Neal and Anthony Parker were the two main additions (as well as the often-forgotten Leon Powe, once he returns from knee surgery), and Shaq, Parker and the others clearly need time to adapt. Even against the ordinary-at-best Bobcats, that much is evident.
The difference in the two wins hasn't been the play of Shaq (still below par) or Parker (who is beginning to get more comfortable) or even LeBron James (who may have had the best 14-point game in NBA history, prompting Charlotte coach Larry Brown to say, "He had 14, but he could've scored 50 ...").
Nope, the main differences the previous two nights were Williams and Ilgauskas. After looking lost, and even a little panicked, in the first two games, Mo and Big Z both had their best games in quite some time -- with Williams scoring 24 on 9-of-14 shooting and Ilgauskas swatting away FIVE shots on Saturday.
With his pasty white skin, bald head and 7-foot-3 frame, Ilgauskas looks like the world's tallest light bulb. And it was lights out on this night, as Z finished with 10 points on 5-of-5 shooting.
Of course, let's not forget West.
He understandably was a little apprehensive at first, taking and missing just one shot in the first half. Then he came out in the second half, in his first game (regular season or otherwise), and knocked down 5 of 6 for 13 points.
In other words, West isn't LeBron, or maybe even Mo. But he's pretty darn good and pretty darn valuable -- and having him back is pretty darn important.
Also, as James has pointed out repeatedly, the fact West already knows the system is a major plus. That's especially the case with Shaq and the others trying to find their way.
"He can sit out for two weeks and he comes back in and he's right in the flow," LeBron said of Delonte. "I've said it before, he is just that type of guy. It wasn't a surprise that he was able to still be in a comfort zone."
Again, the list of things that bode well for the future doesn't end there.
For one, the defense has looked significantly better -- not only shutting down the opposition, but creating points at the other end in the process.
The Cavaliers were also more efficient offensively than at any time since the playoff sweep over Atlanta last spring. Against the Bobcats, they shot 58 percent from the field, including 56 percent (9 of 16) on 3-pointers, and passed for 22 assists. They also led by four at the half (45-41) despite the fact LeBron tallied just one field goal.
Some of that has to do with the competition, but then again, you can only win the games that you play.
Besides, these are the kind of games that help you get ready for the biggies against Boston, Orlando and L.A.
Are the Cavs all the way there? Hardly. But that's OK. The important thing is they are getting there. Slowly, but with purpose.
"We have a lot of room to grow, but our guys understand that," said Cavs coach Mike Brown. "It's good that they understand that, and I think in time, we will be a very good basketball team. We're pretty good right now, but we have the chance to be great."
And for the Cavs and their fans, it just might be time to start feeling good again.
Sam Amico covers the NBA for NBA.com, and is a regular contributor to SportsTime Ohio and The Cleveland Fan.