It was a rough start to the 2017 season for the Boston Celtics, as they dropped their first two games to the Cleveland Cavaliers and Milwaukee Bucks.
However, since then, they've rattled off five-straight wins and have risen to the top of the Eastern Conference standings.
A large part of the Celtics' resurgence has been the improved play of point guard Kyrie Irving, who took a while to find his groove in Boston after coming over from the Cavs this offseason.
After Monday's win over the San Antonio Spurs, Irving said the biggest thing he had to change was fitting himself into the Celtics' team culture instead of expecting the Celtics to adjust to him (via Yahoo! Sports):
"I felt like I had to adjust to them," Irving said. "That was probably the biggest thing. Coming in and even playing pickup with those guys, they have a team-oriented-at-all-times vibe and culture here, and I had to be able to adjust my individual talents to the greater good of the group.
"I feel that has been going a lot better than even I expected because of the guys that we have in this locker room. They make it a lot easier."
Though the Celtics lost Gordon Hayward for a year to a devastating leg injury in the season opener, Irving and his teammates have managed to find a way to play well without him.
Irving's been better on defense this year, too, which is something his teammates have certainly noticed. Terry Rozier said the fact that Irving leads the team in steals is a great sign:
"He's leading our team in steals right now. I'm kind of upset about that because he's got bragging rights over us," Rozier said. "He's been doing a good job. He's been playing great offensively and defensively."
If Irving can keep up his high level of play, the Celtics should continue to stay afloat at the top of the Eastern Conference, especially as the Cavs continue to struggle.
After Irving led the Celtics to a win over the San Antonio Spurs on Monday night, Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said he's not surprised that Irving is still dominating with his new team:
"No different than any other night I've seen him play," Popovich said. "He's a hell of a player, you think he's going to change? Kyrie does what he does, and he does it very well."
The Celtics host the Sacramento Kings on Wednesday night, needing to pick up a win over the 1-6 Kings before they head on a three-game road trip. If Irving does what he's been doing, the Celtics should be able to improve to 6-2.