Celtics

Summer League takeaways: Semi shines, Williams leaves with injury

Summer League takeaways: Semi shines, Williams leaves with injury

Here are the three takeaways from Boston’s 95-89 summer league win against Philadelphia on Friday night. . .

SEMI OJELEYE 

After having played 70 games as a rookie last season, Ojeleye came in as the most experienced member of the Celtics roster. And that experience was on display with Ojeleye finishing with 16 points on 6-for-13 shooting from the field. What really made his scoring impressive, was he did it in ways that we hadn’t seen much of last season. With most of his points last season being corner 3’s. But on Friday, Ojeleye scored driving to the basket in addition to raising up for pull-up jumpers off the dribble. 

 

GUERSCHON YABUSELE

It’s only a summer league game, but the confidence that Yabusele played with offensively was undeniable. He was finishing at the rim and knocking down jumpers, the last of which being a 3-pointer late in the fourth quarter that was instrumental to the Celtics coming away with the victory. He tallied 16 points on 6-for-14 shooting along with seven rebounds. However, Yabusele’s defense needs work with the second-year big man tallying seven personal fouls (players foul out after their 10th personal foul).


ROBERT WILLIAMS III 

He didn’t play much due to bumping knees in the first quarter. But in his limited minutes, it was a solid debut for the first-round pick selected by Boston with the 27th overall pick. He had four points on 2-for-4 shooting to go with two rebounds in just six minutes. And just as important, he played with good energy at both ends of the floor which was a factor in him having a plus/minus of +6 which helped shift the game’s momentum in Boston’s favor.

 

BONUS TAKEAWAY: 

JABARI BIRD

He played most of the game with the kind of aggressive, attacking-the-rim style that Boston absolutely wants to see more from him going forward. He had 14 points on 6-for-10 shooting and did a good job on the glass with eight rebounds. But the most impressive stat attached to Bird was his plus/minus number (+19) which clued you into how well the Celtics were playing when he was in the game.

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Celtics' Romeo Langford returns to Indiana for first time as NBA player

Celtics' Romeo Langford returns to Indiana for first time as NBA player

INDIANAPOLIS — Injuries and opportunity have kept Romeo Langford on the sidelines more than he would have liked in this, his rookie season. 

But that won’t stop the folks from his hometown of New Albany, Indiana, from making the two-hour trek to Wednesday night’s game to support him and the Boston Celtics in what’s being billed as New Albany Night at Banker’s Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis.

Wednesday will be the first time Langford, selected by Boston with the 14th overall pick in last June’s draft, will return to the Hoosier State as a Celtic.

“It’ll be good, just to be back. I haven’t been back home in a while,” Langford told NBC Sports Boston, adding that the last time he was home was sometime in August. “It’s been a while. That first time going back, it’s going to be a good, special time. It’ll be nice for people who saw me grow up, to see me now in an NBA uniform.”

Langford was a four-year starter at New Albany High School and finished his prep career as one of the state’s most decorated basketball players ever. 

He took his talents to nearby Indiana University, where he played for one season before entering last June’s NBA draft.

There are many in the New Albany community eager to see one of their own come back.  

“We are excited to partner with the Pacers to provide our fans and community with an opportunity to celebrate Romeo’s return to Indiana,” New Albany Athletic Director B.J. McAlister said in a statement. “Our city’s support of Romeo over his high school and college careers was outstanding, and now everyone will get a chance to cheer him on in his first NBA game in our state.

Langford is with the Celtics but won’t see any action against the Pacers as he recovers from a sprained ankle.

“It is frustrating, but you just have to deal with it, try to get better and get back out there as soon as you can,” said Langford, referring to the series of injuries he has had thus far. “That’s all I really can do.”

Langford said he is feeling a lot better and thinks it’s just a matter of days before he’s officially cleared to resume full basketball activities.

Whether he plays or not, there’s very little that can damper Langford’s spirits on the eve of his first homecoming as an NBA player. 

“Like I said, it’ll be good to see a lot of people who helped me get to where I am now, at the game,” Langford said. “I’m looking forward to it.”

Don't miss NBC Sports Boston's coverage of Celtics-Pacers, which tips off Wednesday at 6 p.m. with Celtics Pregame Live, and then Mike & Scal have the call at 7 p.m. You can also stream the game on the MyTeams App.

Celtics eye a potential return from Marcus Smart (eye infection) vs. Pacers

Celtics eye a potential return from Marcus Smart (eye infection) vs. Pacers

INDIANAPOLIS -- Yes, there is a chance that the Boston Celtics will have their defensive anchor back in the mix for Wednesday’s game against the Indiana Pacers. 

Marcus Smart, who did not play in Boston’s 110-88 victory over Cleveland due to an eye infection, made the trip to Indiana with the team but is still considered questionable to play. 

If the Celtics’ defensive stalwart is indeed healthy enough to play, it’ll be interesting to see whether he comes off the bench or rejoins the starting lineup.

Smart began the season coming off the bench while playing starter-like minutes. 

Once Gordon Hayward went down with a fourth metacarpal fracture of his left hand on Nov. 9, Smart was back in the starting lineup and, by and large, did a solid job. 

Will head coach Brad Stevens bring Smart off the bench like he did to start the season, or will he go with more of a mix-and-match kind of lineup that has one of their wings — Jaylen Brown, Jayson Tatum or Hayward — slide over to being a big-time, difference-making reserve?

No matter how they decide to use Smart, you can rest assured that he will make an impact of some kind. 

Don't miss NBC Sports Boston's coverage of Celtics-Pacers, which tips off Wednesday at 6 p.m. with Celtics Pregame Live, and then Mike & Scal have the call at 7 p.m. You can also stream the game on the MyTeams App.