Langford’s Rising Confidence Displayed in Sunday’s Game-Winner

Before heading off to Las Vegas for NBA Summer League this past week, Romeo Langford emphasized to the media how hard he has been working on his shot.

It didn’t take long for the third-year wing to back up his words.

In Boston’s very first exhibition of the summer Sunday afternoon, Langford matched the best long-range shooting effort of his professional career, knocking down 3-of-7 from 3-point range, including the game-winning shot that pushed the Celtics past the Atlanta Hawks, 85-83.

Although the Summer League competition obviously doesn’t compare to that of the regular NBA season, the pressure of Sunday's late-game situation was still very real. The game was on the line, Langford took on the challenge of putting the team on his back, and he delivered.

“It was cool to see Romeo take that shot and make that shot,” teammate Carsen Edwards reflected Monday afternoon. “We’re really close, so just knowing all the work he puts in on his jumper and being able to see him pull that shot in transition, with confidence, and for to go in was dope.”

Such confidence was not totally present for Langford when he entered the NBA, as he still had some work to do in refining his shooting mechanics. Making it more difficult was the fact that he spent each of his first two offseasons rehabbing from separate surgeries on his shooting hand.

However, in working with his position coach, Joe Mazzulla, over the last couple of years, Langford has reached the point where his motion looks and feels fluid. That leads him to the next step in his progression: building confidence.

“A lot of what goes into shooting is more mindset than technical,” said Mazzulla, who is also serving as the Celtics’ Summer League head coach. “I think we fixed the majority of the technical things, and now it’s a matter of how many game shots and game reps is he going to get. Where’s his mindset in those adjustments and his ability to shoot. The last piece of that is, does he think he can make shots, and I think that’s half the battle.”

If Langford can win that battle, then opposing teams could have their hands full in the future.

Adding a 3-point shot “is going to expand his game tremendously,” said teammate Payton Pritchard. “He has the ability to pass, drive, play defense, and so once that 3-ball keeps coming like he hit at the end of the game, he’s going to be a problem.”

Langford certainly was a problem for the Summer Hawks Sunday afternoon, as he stepped up under pressure and snatched a win away from them in the closing seconds.

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