Celtics

Romeo Langford trying to improve his shooting with this unique approach

Romeo Langford trying to improve his shooting with this unique approach

First-round lottery pick Romeo Langford isn't going to be ready to play in the Boston Celtics' summer league during his rookie season. But that hasn't stopped him from getting in some action in workouts and working on his shooting.

Langford struggled with his shot last season at Indiana, so it's unsurprising that he is trying to work on that early in his NBA career. However, the Celtics were using a unique technique to help correct one of the issues with Langford's shooting form.

During workouts, the Celtics had Langford shooting with a ping-pong paddle taped to his left hand. The paddle was there to serve a specific purpose that was unrelated to his surgically-repaired right thumb as Langford outlined in a post-practice interview.

"Really [the paddle] just [keeps] my thumb, my guide hand off the ball, because that will mess your shot up," said Langford, per our own Chris Forsberg.

Langford admitted that the paddle was there to help change his release a bit to avoid a hitch in his shot that he doesn't want to become an issue at the NBA level.

"I used to shoot with a little hitch in my shot," Langford added. "If you want to be consistent and be one of the best shooters in the NBA, you can’t shoot with a hitch in your shot. Most good shooters have a two-motion release, so just trying to eliminate that little glitch or hitch. Just try to make it all one smooth [release].”

Last year at Indiana, Langford averaged 16.5 points per game but shot just 44.8 percent from the field and 27.2 percent from behind the arc. While Langford won't be on the court this summer, we'll see if he can sort out his thumb issues on both hands (the injury and the hitch) and improve his overall shooting ability ahead of the NBA preseason.

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Celtics' Marcus Smart (ankle) probable for Wednesday game vs. Clippers

Celtics' Marcus Smart (ankle) probable for Wednesday game vs. Clippers

Marcus Smart is listed as probable for the Celtics' Wednesday night game in against the Clippers in Los Angeles after the guard had to leave the Monday night win in Phoenix with a scary-looking ankle sprain. 

Smart vowed after the game Monday that he would play against the Clippers even after being helped off the court when he was injured in the fourth quarter.

Smart appeared to be moving well on the ankle Tuesday, according to Celtics.com's Marc D'Amico.

Gordon Hayward, recovering from the fractured bone in his hand and expected back around Christmas, is out for the Celtics. 

The Celtics (11-2) sit atop the Eastern Conference standings. Following an opening night loss to the Philadelphia 76ers, Boston won its next 10 before losing to the Sacramento Kings by one point on Sunday and bounced back with the 99-85 victory in Phoenix on Monday night. 

They'll take on the Clippers on Wednesday and Denver Nuggets on Friday to complete their Western trip before returning home to face the Kings and Brooklyn Nets next week. 

Don’t miss NBC Sports Boston's coverage of Celtics-Clippers, which tips off Wednesday at 9 p.m. ET with Celtics Pregame Live, then Mike & Scal have the call of the game at 10 p.m. You can also stream the game through the MyTeams App.  

 

Shoulder injury casts doubt on Kyrie Irving playing against Celtics next week

Shoulder injury casts doubt on Kyrie Irving playing against Celtics next week

Brooklyn Nets point guard, and former Celtic, Kyrie Irving may not play against Boston next week -- shocker, right?

The 27-year-old already has been ruled out for the Nets matchup Wednesday with the Charlotte Hornets with a shoulder impingement. It'll be the third game in a row he's missed and the Nets are 1-1 without him. 

Irving has only eight days to recover from the injury before a highly-anticipated return to TD Garden on Thanksgiving Eve. If he misses the remainder of the Nets' games this week, it's more than likely he won't play in Boston -- especially considering he'll be in for a rather unfriendly reception from C's fans.

He certainly didn't leave Boston on a high note after first committing to re-sign with the Celtics, then backing off that in what became a disappointing season where his leadership was questioned and he had well-publicized differences with his younger teammates. That led to his eventual free-agent departure to Brooklyn to join his friend Kevin Durant, who is out for the season after tearing his Achilles in the NBA Finals with Golden State. It appears there are leadership questions in Brooklyn, too, after reports of his "mood swings" irritating Nets' officials. 

Nonetheless, through 11 games, Irving is averaging 28.5 points, 5.4 rebounds and 7.2 assists. If he does end up playing against the Celtics, his reception, and how he performs against his old teammates, will be interesting to watch. 

Don’t miss NBC Sports Boston's coverage of Celtics-Clippers, which tips off Wednesday at 9 p.m. ET with Celtics Pregame Live, then Mike & Scal have the call of the game at 10 p.m. You can also stream the game through the MyTeams App.