The "I don't like them, and they know it" doctrine is a lot more than a half-baked idea that Q threw out there on Saturday, after the Celtics and Heat brawled in the final minute of Game 1. It's a mission statement that the veteran swingman has been trumpeting for years.
Rewind to October 2007, the Celtics' first preseason with Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen in the fold. Richardson, then 27 and a member of the Knicks, developed a rivalry with the new Big Three from the start. Richardson and Paul Pierce were jawing at each other in preseason games, establishing from the get-go that there would be no love between the two.
The following month, you had the C's humiliating the Knicks in Boston 104-59, as Pierce humiliated Richardson and held him to 3-for-12 shooting. Richardson didn't back down — he told the media that night that he wasn't impressed, he wasn't awed, he wasn't afraid.
On Martin Luther King Day in 2008, you had a war of words between Pierce and Richardson that escalated to the point where both were ejected, and then Richardson challenged Pierce to a fight in the tunnel on the way back to the locker rooms.
Then you had Game 1 this weekend.
No one's exactly sure why there's so much animosity between these two guys. Only the two of them know for sure. But it's hard to dispute that their rivalry has changed the landscape of this series.
Richardson has gotten into the Celtics' heads a little bit. His meddling with KG got the savvy veteran suspended; Richardson himself got just a fine. He's winning the psychological war.
The Celtics aren't too happy.
"I think if we really want to stop fights, you've got to suspend the agitators, too," said head coach Doc Rivers. "I think right now, the agitator gets fined, and the retaliator is getting suspended in all of these incidents. And until they stop the agitator and suspend them both, you're only going to continue to have these things."
And yet Richardson, considering his role in starting the fracas on Saturday, has gotten off relatively scot-free. What's a $25,000 fine to a guy making close to $9 million a year?
Pierce got hurt. KG got suspended. Q got a slap on the wrist.
The Heat didn't win the game, but they won this fight — and you have to wonder if Saturday's incident will have an effect on the rest of this series.
"I hope not," Rivers said. "From our end, I expect us to come out and play. And I expect Miami to do the same. If there is a carryover, then shame on whoever it is involved."
The fight might not carry over in the form of more fighting, more injuries, more technicals, more ejections. But it will definitely play into every player's mindset from Game 2 on.
Richardson has lit a fire under a Heat team that could really use it. After Saturday night, he will become an emotional leader for his team in this series. Goons aren't just for the NHL anymore — the Heat have theirs.