2 factors that have turned the season around for Cleveland Cavaliers

Cleveland Cavaliers v Toronto Raptors
Cleveland Cavaliers v Toronto Raptors / Mark Blinch/GettyImages
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The Cleveland Cavaliers are the hottest team in the NBA and have lately set a franchise record for its best 18-game stretch in the organization's history (17-1). It’s a complete 180-degree turnaround from the situation at November’s end when the team was barely over .500 (10-9).

Solid team building, exceptional coaching and a superstar demolishing coverages have given devoted supporters one of the most enjoyable seasons ever watching the Wine and Gold. Their recent dominance has placed the Cavs second in the Eastern Conference, passing up the New York Knicks, Milwaukee Bucks and Philadelphia 76ers as the final stretch of the regular season approaches.

Cleveland's growth did not come by way of luck. These two developments have played pivotal roles this season in setting the Cavaliers apart from their competition.

Selfless offense and passing elevates the Cavaliers

Has anyone ever seen a freshly forged blade slice through bamboo? If not, please use clips and game tape of the Cavaliers’ offense from December 16 onward to witness the attack of the most dangerous team in the league.

The Cavaliers are sixth in total passes made this season (293.2 per game) and 12th in assist points created (69.4 per match). Additionally, the group has registered at least 30 dimes on 16 occasions this year, and its record is 12-3 in those outings. The league average for assists is 26.7 per contest, the highest it has ever been in NBA history, per Stathead.

The 13 squads with more 30-assist games this season are the Indiana Pacers (34), San Antonio Spurs (27), Toronto Raptors (24), Golden State Warriors (23), Denver Nuggets (20), Los Angeles Lakers (22), Oklahoma City Thunder (19), Washington Wizards (20), Utah Jazz (19), New Orleans Pelicans, Minnesota Timberwolves (19), Phoenix Suns (17) and Milwaukee Bucks (17).

Yet, the Cavaliers are tied for the twelfth-highest winning percentage (80), with the Nuggets, of all teams who recorded at least 30 dimes behind the Clippers (100), Knicks (100), Heat (90) Thunder (89.5), Timberwolves (89.5), 76ers (89), Suns (88.2), Mavericks (87.5), Magic (87.5), Celtics (85) and Kings (83).

While the offense does feature an All-Star backcourt, Max Strus has grown as a wing playmaker, too. As a Cavalier, he is setting career highs in assist per game average (3.2) and total dimes distributed (193). When the Cavs signed Strus, his three-point shooting was the driving force in Cleveland's interest, but the veteran wing has shown an elevated level of production beyond what was expected.

In the frontcourt, the Cavaliers' distribution still shines. Jarrett Allen and Evan Mobley are dribble handoff hubs who combine for 14.9 screen assists points nightly. Riding this wave of equal-opportunity offense is critical for the Cavaliers to advance in the postseason because it will make its attack harder to decipher.