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NBA Standings 2012: Cleveland Cavaliers Could Be A Playoff Team

The Cleveland Cavaliers lost a NBA record 26 games in a row last year and won just 19 games, but two top five picks later and they are a serious threat to make the playoffs.

If the season ended today (it doesn't), the Cavs would be in as the Eastern Conference's No. 8 seed at 5-6 and a game ahead of the 4-7 Milwaukee Bucks. They would have the honor of playing the 12-2 Chicago Bulls, who they play next week Friday.

Cleveland's turnaround is largely due to an improved offense, directly impacted by the No. 1 overall pick Kyrie Irving, who leads the team in scoring (17 points per game) and assists (5.1 assists per game). No. 4 overall pick Tristan Thompson leads the team in blocks (1.3 blocks per game).

I don't think fans expected this quick of a turnaround, but if the Cavs keep playing as they have through the first fifth of the season, they should be doing some heavy flirting with the playoffs just a shortened season after achieving ultimate futility.

For more on the Cleveland Cavaliers, go to Fear The Sword. You can also head over to SB Nation's main NBA hub at SBNation.com/NBA.

Photographs by spatulated, Triple Tri, and chrischappelear used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.