Romeo Langford shows Celtics he’s developing ahead of schedule in win over Hawks

(Omar Rawlings/Getty Images)

Romeo Langford had shown the NBA world flashes of potential during his rookie season back in December. However, thanks to some good health and opportunity for others, that progress came to a halt for much of January. Langford played a total of 26 minutes during mostly garbage time over five contests, sitting idly by with a few contests in Maine mixed in over the past six weeks.

Langford did not even get on the floor at all as recently as Monday’s win over the Hawks in Atlanta but opportunity came knocking on Wednesday amid a surprise start for a shorthanded backcourt. Langford held his own defending Evan Fournier over much of his 28 minutes and Stevens turned back to him Friday night with another crafty scorer in the mix (Kevin Huerter).

The shooting guard scored 25 points on the night for Atlanta in a 112-107 Celtics win at the Garden but he was not efficient in doing so, largely thanks to Langford. Huerter was just 8-of-22 from the field and had key misses late thanks to some strong contests by the 20-year-old Celtics rookie. Langford got as much playing time on the evening with Gordon Hayward and Jaylen Brown sidelined as he did during all of January, earning a vote of confidence from Stevens on the defensive end with crunch time minutes during his second straight game.

“It really is a different game,” Langford said. “Kind of the same with Huerter and Fournier, shooters coming off screens. But really just focused on it's a new game plan. I wasn't even worried too much about the matchup, because we're playing a game coming up. So I went and watched film of Atlanta and got their plays down, their player tendencies down. So that helped me tonight."

“First of all, size and length,” Stevens said on why he stuck with Langford late-game. “I thought Romeo played