Celtics

Why Kevin Durant was "giddy" about passing Larry Bird on scoring list

Why Kevin Durant was "giddy" about passing Larry Bird on scoring list

Kevin Durant signing with the Boston Celtics next offseason may be a long shot. But the Golden State Warriors forward appreciates his Celtics history.

Durant passed C's icon Larry Bird for 33rd on the NBA's all-time scoring list Monday night, dropping 23 points in Golden State's 110-93 win over the Memphis Grizzlies.

Durant was asked after the game about moving past Larry Legend and seemed genuinely excited about the accomplishment.

"Somebody texted me after the game and showed me a screenshot and I was giddy like a little kid," Durant said. 

"I grew up watching Larry Bird. Well, not really, he’s older, but knowing the legend and Larry Legend and to be amongst the greats, that’s all you really wanna do. It’s a great accomplishment."

Durant already has 21,806 points in his 12th NBA season -- Bird played 13 seasons -- and is just seven points away from catching Gary Payton at No. 32 on the all-time scoring list.

The 30-year-old forward also pointed to Bird as a trailblazer for versatile forwards like himself to continue breaking the mold.

"I don’t see any similarities,” Durant added. “But just a love for the game, a love for practice and love for shooting that I think is similar.

"… He allowed players like myself to kind of dream big and think big at that position and do things that traditional small forwards or big men weren’t doing."

Well said, Kevin. Now, let's roll those Larry Bird highlights.

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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.