NBA Hoosiers (Sept. 19): Injured Romeo Langford Inactive for Celtics' Game 3 Win over Heat

Tom Brew

The groin injury that knocked Romeo Langford out of the Boston Celtics' lineup on Thursday is apparently bad enough that the former Indiana start couldn't go Saturday night, either.

The former Indiana star was left off the active roster for Game 3, which the Celtics won 117-106 to cut into the Miami Heat's lead in the Eastern Conference finals. Miami now leads the series 2-1 with Game 4 scheduled for Wednesday.

The rare extra off days might help Langford get back to action from his right adductor strain. Even though he hasn't played much in the playoffs – he was in for just 81 seconds when he got hurt Thursday night — Celtics coach Brad Stevens would like to have him available. A few days of treatment could help.

The Celtics did get former Brownsburg and Butler star Gordon Hayward back from an ankle injury Saturday night, and that helped. He played 31 minutes off the bench. He scored only six points, but his presence on the floor helped others.

Offensively, Boston was sharp, shooting 48.2% from the floor and 34.6% from three. On the other end, the Celtics held the Heat to 38.8% shooting and a dismal 27.3% from beyond the arc. They scored 60 points in the paint to Miami’s 38. Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown combined for 51 points. Kemba Walker chipped in 21. Marcus Smart added 20, but it was how he scored that mattered most. 

After attempting 19 three-pointers in the first two games, Smart put up two in Game 3, adopting a playmaker role (six assists). And when the game got tight in the fourth quarter, Smart was perfect (10-for-10) with his free throws.

“Our whole team was aggressive,” Brad Stevens said. “Our whole team played with the right mentality.”

It was a big win for the Celtics, who had blown double-digits leads in the first two games.

"There's some great guys in that locker room," Boston forward Jaylen Brown said. "A lot of emotion, a lot of passion, but we're a family and we're here for each other at the end of the day. We exemplified that when we came out together.  We kept our will high and we persevered to win this game."

Langford is one of nine former Indiana players currently in the NBA, and he's the last one standing along with Denver's Noah Vonleh. 

Sunday's NBA Game

  • Denver Nuggets vs. Los Angeles Lakers, 7:30 p.m. ET (TV: TNT): Los Angeles had no trouble winning the opener, and now it looks to take control of the series in Game 2. Denver has won back-to-back series after falling behind 3-1 — something that's never been done before in NBA playoff history — and they looked fatigued in Game 1. Look for a bounce-back Sunday. Former Hoosier Noah Vonleh in on Denver's roster, but he has been inactive for most of the playoffs..