Josh Richardson confident he’ll bounce back after quiet Game 1: ‘I saw spots I could have attacked. I’ll change it tomorrow’

JJ Redick #17 of the Philadelphia 76ers pump fakes Josh Richardson #0 of the Miami Heat in the second quarter during Game One of the first round of the 2018 NBA Playoff at Wells Fargo Center on April 14, 2018 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)

The Heat have a long list of things they need to improve on if they want to win their first-round playoff series against the Sixers.

“Getting Josh Richardson on track” should be on that list in bold type and in all capital letters entering Monday’s Game 2. The Heat’s starting small forward struggled in Saturday’s blowout loss to the Sixers in Game 1, as he finished with four points on 1-of-7 shooting from the field and 0-of-4 shooting from 3-point range.

The Heat were outscored by 30 points in the 27 minutes Richardson played.

“I do need to figure that out,” coach Erik Spoelstra said after Sunday’s practice when asked about getting Richardson back on track. “He’s been a very important player for us. And it’s not necessarily the play calls or box-score stats, but when you feel J-Rich’s presence in a game, those are the games we’re very difficult to beat.

“We’re going to try to get him a little bit more involved, but get him more active defensively where you feel his presence and feel his purpose and athleticism and his versatility, all those things, we’ve got to do a better job. I have to find a way to get him in spots to where he can feel aggressive.”

But defense wasn’t necessarily the problem for Richardson on Saturday. In fact, the 24-year-old was one of the few Heat players who was effective on that end of the court as the Sixers scored 130 points on 47.4 percent shooting.

Richardson limited players he defended to 1-of-10 shooting in Game 1, including 0-of-3 from within six feet of the basket, and also recorded two steals.

It was on the offensive end where Richardson looked out of rhythm. He took seven shots and only one came from inside the paint, a layup attempt was blocked by Philadelphia forward Robert Covington.

“When it comes to [Richardson], he needs to attack immediately or the big guy needs to be on the move to set a screen,” said Heat point guard Goran Dragic, who’s also looking to bounce back after scoring an inefficient 15 points on 4-of-14 shooting in Game 1. “When it wasn’t there, we didn’t have that. We were stagnant, nobody moved, the pick-and-roll was not even there, we didn’t set screens. You know it’s tough to make something happen from there.”

Richardson admits he needs to be more aggressive moving forward, but he’s not going to overreact to one disappointing performance.

“Be a little more aggressive, I guess,” Richardson said Sunday when asked how he can improve. “I don’t think we were moving the ball like we know how to. I think they kind of flattened us out and we kind of played into that. It just starts there.

“I’m not really one to get super hung up on things like that after the game is over. I looked at the film and I saw spots I could have attacked. I’ll change it tomorrow.”

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