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Wednesday, April 17, 2013
Richardson: My mindset is to play defense

By Jared Zwerling

In his 12 previous years in the NBA, Quentin Richardson mostly made a name for himself with his 3-point shooting. His career accuracy from downtown is a respectable 35.5 percent. Three years ago, playing for the Heat, he nearly shot 40 percent from long range.

But now that he's in New York for the second time -- he played here from 2005-09 -- he wants to focus on defense, not one of his strong suits.

"The one thing I know about this team is they got enough offense," Richardson, who signed on Tuesday, said after Wednesday morning's shootaround. "First off, I don't know how much I'll play, but whatever happens, my first mindset is to be a defensive stopper. We have Carmelo [Anthony], who leads the league in scoring. My first mindset is to play defense."

Quentin Richardson and Paul Pierce
Quentin Richardson (left) has an opportunity to get reacquainted with old nemesis Paul Pierce.
While Richardson's consistent ability on that end of the floor is suspect, his wide body (6-6, 228 pounds) and hard-nosed approach has gotten under the skin of star opponents at times. Those factors could come in handy against the Celtics in the first round, and in a potential Eastern Conference finals matchup with the Heat.

Partly initiated by Richardson's aggressive style of play, he and Paul Pierce feuded during a game in 2008 -- when Q-Rich was playing for the Knicks -- which led to both of their ejections. In 2010, when Richardson was in Miami, he got into a shoving match with LeBron James, then with the Cavaliers.

While Richardson said he's "excited" to potentially guard Pierce again, he's also up to the task of picking up James.

"I do have experience playing against [James]. That possibly could have factored into [me signing]," he said. "If we make it that far, then I'm up for the challenge."

First things first is making his season debut on Wednesday night against the Hawks, the Knicks' final game of the regular season. Mike Woodson envisions playing Richardson extensive minutes, as several core players will rest.

It was only a few days ago that Richardson was in Orlando, where he spent the entire season working out. He was hoping to join a playoff-caliber team; a few were interested, but nothing came to fruition until the Knicks called.

"It's very exciting," he said. "I always knew this was the mecca of basketball. They have the greatest fans, even when I was here [with another team]. ... I've always been watching. They're at the level they need to be in competing for a title."

"You have the fans at a fever pitch, knowing their team is competing for a championship," he added. "When the news broke, my Twitter thing went crazy -- everybody congratulating me and welcoming me back. It was a good feeling."

On a team with mostly veterans, Richardson also views his experience in the league as an asset to the team.

"I hope I bring some of my veteran knowledge," he said. "I think I can space the floor and bring toughness on defense, give knowledge to the bench for my teammates."

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