After Season-High For Celtics, Josh Richardson Has Earned Bigger Role

'I can make threes, I can do stuff like that. But I also get going by having the ball in my hands, facilitate, dribble, move and feeling the game out. But I'm getting comfortable, and it's been good for me'

by

December 19, 2021

Josh Richardson has been one of the most underrated members of the Boston Celtics this season.

But with the team significantly shorthanded Saturday night against the New York Knicks, he stepped up and had his best game yet in a Boston uniform, scoring 27 points, grabbing five rebounds, dishing four assists, and added three steals with no turnovers off the bench.

And at the end of a pretty abysmal third quarter, Richardson put the team on his back, countering with a stellar fourth to help the Celtics secure a 114-107 victory.

“Obviously shot the ball exceptionally well, he’s been playing pretty consistent in general. But you’re seeing a guy that’s getting an opportunity with some guys out, extended minutes. And obviously that’s who he is on defense,” coach Ime Udoka said via Zoom after the game.

“The shooting and aggressiveness offensively was great. Needed (it) and great to see, but he really got into the zone shooting the ball. Guys are finding him, he was not hesitating, and that’s what we want. Quick decisions. Catch and shoot or make a move.”

Richardson’s effort was apparent throughout the game, but there became a point in the third where he realized his hand was hot.

With 2:41 left in the third, Jaylen Brown kicked it out to Richardson for a 26-footer, and things went up from there to erase a deep Knicks run.

“That was probably when I was like, all right, I’m feeling good now,” Richardson said after the game. “I kind of yelled at myself after that shot cause I was like, ‘Just do what you’re supposed to do on your shot and it’s gonna go in.’ “

Richardson finished 9-for-14 from the field and 5-of-7 from deep in 32 minutes. He led Boston in scoring Saturday, and in his last two games is averaging 21.0 points, 3.5 boards and 2.0 assists since returning from COVID-19.

With Schröder out the last two nights with an illness not related to COVID-19, Richardson’s assumed more responsibility for himself, and showed flashes of how he can get himself going with more touches on any given night.

Realistically, it might be time to start questioning why Richardson hasn’t gotten a start in the last two games over the likes of Romeo Langford or Aaron Nesmith. Or why Udoka isn’t quicker to put him in some nights.

As noted by Celtics reporter Taylor Snow, he’s the first reserve in Celtics history to log a game of at least 25 points, five rebounds, four assists and three steals.

Either way, it’s good to see him earning more playing time, and the impact it’s having in his game is clear.

“I gotta give credit to my teammates, you know, I’m saying? For just letting me get out there and go,” Richardson said.

“I can make threes, I can do stuff like that. But I also get going by having the ball in my hands, facilitate, dribble, move and feeling the game out. But I’m getting comfortable, and it’s been good for me.”

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