Miami Heat guard Josh Richardson finding his legs, just ask Cleveland’s Richard Jefferson



Heat guard Josh Richardson once again is starting to resemble the player who emerged the second half of last season. (AP Photo/Alan Diaz)
Heat guard Josh Richardson once again is starting to resemble the player who emerged the second half of last season. (AP Photo/Alan Diaz)

CLEVELAND – It has not been easy for Josh Richardson since returning from a 19-game absence because of a foot injury.

Richardson, the second year guard from Tennessee, looked lost for awhile, struggling to find his groove, playing limited minutes and when he did, hardly being noticed.

But that is slowly turning. Although averaging 4.3 points – while shooting .333 from the field and .182 on 3s – 3.3 rebounds and 2.0 assists in six games, the 6-foot-6 Richardson is making progress and his eight points (4 of 9 shooting), seven rebounds and three assists in Miami’s thrashing of Cleveland Saturday was proof.

“I’m starting to trust my legs more,” Richardson said. “I think that was a lot of it, I wasn’t really trying to do a lot. (Saturday) I was trying to block shots and I felt like I was jumping well. I’m just trying to get back to where I was at.”

Richardson had one block and it was memorable. In the second quarter he trailed Richard Jefferson on a back door and rejected Jefferson’s attempt at a reverse layup. Richardson tracked down the block and kept the ball in play, tapping it to Wayne Ellington.

Those are the types of play coach Erick Spoelstra has emphasized to Richardson.

“I tell him every single day, I don’t care about the offense,” Spoelstra said. “Get us organized, which he does a terrific job of, getting us into our sets, getting the ball where it needs to go. Continue to space the floor, that will get better.

“But it’s the defensive activity, energy, versatility that he brings. He’s guarding one through three, one through four (Saturday), but you noticed him. That’s not just the stats. An average person watching would say, ‘Who’s that guy? He’s making plays defensively, he’s around the ball at time.’

“I’m encouraged by his activity level now. It’s probably getting closer to where it was last year.”

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