Donning his brand new no. 9 uni and with a defender running toward him, Langford drains the go-ahead 3-pointer that puts the Celtics up, 83-80 with only 11.1 seconds left to play in their Summer League opener. In the end, Boston topped the Atlanta Hawks, 85-83.
The latest Celtics news straight to your inbox! Join the Heavy on Celtics newsletter here!
However, for Langford, the significance of his game-winning 3 extends beyond the fact that the Celtics are now 1-0 in Las Vegas. Romeo was 2-of-6 from behind the arc before hitting the one that mattered most.
He was pressing the issue, a bit, throughout the first half — where Langford settled for contested looks and forced 3-pointers that were seemingly out-of-sync with the rest of his teammates.
Celtics’ Romeo Langford Drains Game-Winning 3
Still, the slow start didn’t discourage the third-year pro, who executed the play called perfectly and created just enough space away from his defender.
“It’s a microcosm of what we’re trying to accomplish, right? Everybody has their individual goals and for Romeo, it’s can he make shots at opportune times,” Celtics Summer League head coach Joe Mazzulla said after Sunday’s win. “For that particular situation, I felt that it was important for him to have to experience that. As hard as he’s been worked on his shot; to be able to knock that down.”
Payton Pritchard On Romeo Langford’s 3-Point Touch: ‘He’s Going to be a Problem’
To his credit, Langford had the wherewithal to be at the opportune spot in the game’s most crucial moment but as Mazzulla also points out; it was Pritchard, the team’s starting point guard, who while flexing his natural intuition found Romeo in transition at just the right time.
“To me, it goes back to, what I believe was Payton, who I believe was able to pitch it to him,” Mazzulla added. “So, the ability for those guys to be on the same page, for them to trust each other and to just play the right way; good things happen.”
Pritchard finished with a game-high 23 points along with five assists and two steals. After the win, Payton, who’s entering his second year with the Celtics, spoke about the change he’s seeing in Langford’s game and why expanding Romeo’s outside touch will make him a better player.
“Romeo’s a really smart player, can do a lot of things,” Pritchard said after Sunday’s win. “I think a big step for his growth, this year, is developing that 3-point shot and being confident. So, that’s going to expand his game tremendously. He has the ability to pass, drive, and play defense. So, once that 3-point ball keeps coming like it did at the end of this game; he’s going to be a problem.”