Miami Heat

Heat’s Josh Richardson not concerned with slow start

Josh Richardson directs traffic during Monday’s loss to the 76ers, in which he made just 1 of 11 shots (0 for 7 on threes).
Josh Richardson directs traffic during Monday’s loss to the 76ers, in which he made just 1 of 11 shots (0 for 7 on threes). AP

Josh Richardson hit a buzzer-beater as time was about to expire in the Heat’s loss to the 76ers on Monday.

It was no time to celebrate. It was the only shot he made all game.

As the Heat continues to search for ways to score outside of Hassan Whiteside, who poured in a career-high 32 points in the loss to the lowly 76ers, Richardson’s shooting shortcomings were never more pronounced than they were Monday.

He was 0 for 10 from the field — and 0 for 7 on three-point attempts — before he made what was a meaningless basket in the dying seconds of a 101-94 loss.

But neither Richardson nor Heat coach Erik Spoelstra are about to panic.

Richardson is still working his way back from an offseason knee injury that has contributed to his shooting ineffectiveness.

“I feel like I’m getting closer,” Richardson said before Monday’s dismal performance. “You’ve got to be patient about it. I’m not trying to rush back or get down on myself because I’m not playing the way I want to.”

Richardson missed all of training camp and the first four games of the season before returning to the lineup. But his field-goal percentage has plummeted from 45 percent last season to 38 percent this one.

“I didn’t get a training camp,” Richardson said. “I didn’t get a preseason. I didn’t get all the preseason practices that all my teammates got, and all the guys in the league got.”

Although the Heat is 13 games into the season, Richardson feels like he’s just getting started.

“I’d say I’m getting to season-opening form,” he said. “I’m not as explosive as I usually am — as I want to be.”

Following Monday’s loss in which everyone other than Whiteside combined to make just 21 of 69 shots, Spoelstra said he is not concerned with Richardson’s shaky start.

“I want those guys to shoot,” Spoelstra said. “I’ll have to look at [Richardson’s shots]. But I can’t remember one that I didn’t like, that I didn’t think wasn’t open. He’s a great shooter. That means the next game he’ll probably be knocking them all down. But sometimes you can’t control that.”

FRONT AND CENTER

Don’t tell Whiteside the NBA is no longer a center’s league.

“I don’t know who ‘they’ are,” Whiteside said of those who believe the big man’s role isn’t what it once was. “They don’t watch basketball if they think it’s not centers. I don’t have a day off at the center position.”

Whiteside said the topic even came up on the court toward the end of Monday’s game when he and 76ers center Joel Embiid became engaged in a brief conversation about it.

“Even Embiid, at the end of the game, was talking about how we’re bringing back the centers,” Whiteside said.

Wednesday: Heat at Pistons

When/where: 7:30 p.m.; The Palace of Auburn Hills, Mich.

TV/Radio: Fox Sports Sun, 790 AM, WAQI AM (Spanish)

Series: The Heat is 53-48 all-time versus Detroit; the two teams meet for the first of four matchups this season.

Scouting report: After starting the season by winning their first five home games, the Pistons have dropped two straight on their home court. Detroit has lost its past four games — home and road — heading into Wednesday’s showdown with the Heat. Don’t look for a lot of scoring. The Heat and Pistons are among the five lowest-scoring teams in the NBA.

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