Josh Richardson nearly saves the day for the Miami Heat

Apr 2, 2017; Miami, FL, USA; Miami Heat guard Josh Richardson (0) reacts after making a three point basket next to Denver Nuggets guard Jamal Murray (27) during the second half the at American Airlines Arena. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports
Apr 2, 2017; Miami, FL, USA; Miami Heat guard Josh Richardson (0) reacts after making a three point basket next to Denver Nuggets guard Jamal Murray (27) during the second half the at American Airlines Arena. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports /
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Despite the best efforts of shooting guard Josh Richardson, the Miami Heat experienced a crushing home loss to the Denver Nuggets.

Welcome to the Hot Hand, where after every Miami Heat game win or loss we recognize the player who best put his stamp on the game.

The Josh Richardson experience this season was encapsulated in the Miami Heat‘s second consecutive defeat. The Heat fell to the Denver Nuggets 116-113, and in the process are tied with the Indiana Pacers with a 37-40 record.

Richardson’s first half on the offensive end was essentially non-existent – just two points on 1-of-3 shooting in 16 minutes of playing time. However just like his season, he completely flipped the switch in the second half.

Richardson posted 11 of his 15 second half points in the final term, including 3-of-4 from downtown. This was vital, as the Heat received just a combined two points in the fourth quarter from Goran Dragic and Hassan Whiteside. In the process, he tied his season-high with four three-pointers, which he has now done on five occasions.

Injured in the preseason, Richardson had a late commencement to the regular season. He then participated in just 14 games before going down with a foot injury. But after missing a further 19 games, Richardson returned inauspiciously, not reaching double figures in points in his first 12 games back.

Therefore, performances such as this are going to be needed more regularly as the Heat battle for the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.

Check the highlight below of one of his three final-term threes:

However, the defensive end is where Richardson has always excelled, with this game being no exception. Playing a team-high 38 minutes, Richardson equalled his season high of three blocks for the third time this season. He is now fifth in the league in blocked shots for all guards with 0.7 per game. Furthermore, his on-ball defence on Nuggets’ 2-guard Gary Harris was exceptional, holding him to just nine points on 3-of-10 shooting.

Check the highlight below of his third-quarter swat of Nuggets’ forward Wilson Chandler:

In the absence of Dion Waiters, Richardson’s contributions are vital. This 17 point, three rebound and three block performance was preceded by a two-point performance on 0-5 shooting in 29 minutes of action in a terrible home loss to the New York Knicks. But prior to that, Richardson notched 17 points and five steals in a road win over the Knicks.

And although he doesn’t possess Waiters’ play-making abilities, Richardson did demonstrate the following:

Richardson also setup potentially a game-saving possession which resulted in a three-pointer to guard Tyler Johnson. With Dragic being used as a decoy in the corner, Richardson was able to penetrate and circle out to Johnson for the triple:

With just five remaining, the Heat are set to be in a nightly battle to lock up the final seed in the East. They now embark on a three-game road-trip, with the first stop in Charlotte to take on the suddenly resurgent Hornets. Now just one game behind the Heat, this game looms as equally vital for both teams. Game starts Wednesday 7:00 pm ET.