Celtics-Raptors takeaways: Langford impresses in starting role


The Boston Celtics hosted the Toronto Raptors on Saturday night in another entertaining preseason game at TD Garden.

A strong 3-point shooting night propelled the C's to a 113-111 win that brings them to 2-0 in the preseason. They hit almost 50 percent of their 3-point attempts (19 for 40) and shot 46.9 percent from the field.

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The Raptors didn't go down without a fight, tying the game twice in the final 30 seconds. Boston ultimately was able to seal the victory with a pair of clutch free throws from Juancho Hernangomez.

Here are a few quick takeaways from the second of four Celtics preseason matchups.

Romeo Langford fills in nicely for Jaylen Brown

We likely won't see Jaylen Brown until the Celtics' regular-season opener on Oct. 20 due to health and safety protocols. The All-Star wing tested positive for COVID-19 on Friday.

Romeo Langford was Brown's replacement in the C's starting lineup Saturday night and he made the most of his opportunity. The third-year guard had 13 points in 19 minutes, hitting five of his six shots and going 3-for-4 from 3-point range.

The performance comes just a few days after he drilled a go-ahead 3-pointer vs. the Magic with 14.2 seconds remaining.

Could we be overreacting to a couple of meaningless preseason games? Sure. But Langford adds a new dimension to this year's Celtics team if he's able to find consistency shooting the basketball. The fact he was able to impress in that category after being thrust into a starting role should inspire some optimism heading into the new season.

Jayson Tatum shows off his playmaking ability

For the Celtics to bounce back after a less-than-stellar 2021-22 campaign, stars Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown will need to do a better job of getting their teammates involved.

Tatum showed he's more than capable of making that happen.

The two-time All-Star finished with 20 points and nine rebounds but his seven assists are what jumped off the box score. He was in sync with his teammates throughout the game and was a huge reason why Boston was so efficient with its opportunities.

Tatum was pulled from the game in the third quarter, but not before he found his three-point stroke.

It's looking like Year 5 will be another step forward for the 23-year-old phenom.

As a team, the Celtics tallied 29 assists on 38 baskets.

Al Horford looks spry

Horford didn't look like a 35-year-old big man in Saturday's preseason tilt. As he prepares for his second stint in Boston, the veteran is moving around like he hasn't aged since he left the C's in 2019.

Horford did a little bit of everything in the win, finishing with 16 points (4-for-4 from beyond the arc) to go with three rebounds, two assists, two blocks and a steal.

In related news, C's head coach Ime Udoka went with the double-big starting lineup with Horford and Robert Williams. It seemed to work well, which was an encouraging sign for the team's versatility.

Turnovers, turnovers, turnovers

While they escaped with the victory, the Celtics have plenty to clean up before the games start to count. Turnovers were a killer, and it was a problem throughout as they went into the locker room at halftime with 11 of them.

It wasn't any prettier in the second half as Horford and Tatum had a pair of ugly turnovers to start the third quarter. As much as we just raved about Tatum's playmaking ability, he also turned the ball over six times. The team finished with a whopping 23 total.

They'll look to improve in that area Wednesday when they visit the Orlando Magic. Tip-off for Boston's third preseason game is set for 7 p.m. ET.

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