MIAMI – Josh Richardson welcomes taking big shots. Wants the big shot. And even though his buzzer beater Saturday bounced off the rim, the Heat’s second-year guard will not shy away from the big shot.
“I think it’s good for myself and the young guys on our team that are going to take them,” Richardson said. “They get you ready. I’ve taken big shots in my career at other levels and I’ve missed them and I’ve made them.
“I think I’m mature enough to take it for what it is and keep going.”
The Heat trailed Memphis by three after Mike Conley’s two free throws with 11.4 seconds to play. Richardson had the ball on the left and found Rodney McGruder open to his right. But as McGruder lifted to shoot JaMychal Green closed quickly and McGruder was forced to pass back in mid-jump. Richardson then let it go as the clock wound down and Memphis’ Troy Williams charged him with his hand up.
The ball bounded off the rim and time expired on a 110-107 Heat home loss to the Grizzlies.
“I felt fine,” said Richardson, who finished with 15 points and five assists. “I thought I had a pretty good look at.”
Heat coach Erik Spoelstra agreed.
“Shockingly we ended up getting a good clean look,” he said. “I don’t think I could have diagrammed something better than that. Sometimes if you don’t know what you’re doing, they don’t know what you’re doing either and you end up getting something out of it.
“We started slow into that possession but we ended up executing the triggers after that. Maybe that’s the decoy that confused them.”
Spoelstra would not say, but the play could have been set up for Dion Waiters, who led Miami with his season-high of 28 points, including 11 in the fourth quarter in which he made both of his threes.
Waiters was asked if he wanted that last shot.
“You know me. Yes,” he said. “But I take the best shot whatever it was. I think J-Rich got a great look at it. Next time he’ll probably make it. I know he’s going to make it. Just got to have that confidence.
“I just made the right play. I didn’t want to force it, go out there and take a crazy shot. We had time out there. So I just tried to make the right play.”