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A Philadelphia 76ers blog, hosted by Christopher A. Vito

Saturday, December 1, 2012


(Associated Press)

CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Sixers guard Jason Richardson played 30 minutes Friday night. Turns out that was the right number. Richardson scored 22 points, 14 of which were scored in the fourth quarter – in which he played all 12 minutes – in the Sixers’ 104-98 victory over the Bobcats.

Sixers coach Doug Collins said he’s facing a conundrum. He talked about it pregame. He talked about it postgame: How can he maximize the minutes played by Richardson, his most-veteran player who turns 32 in January?

“Thirty minutes is great for him,” Collins said. “The adjustment he’s going to make – I just talked to him a little bit – if you sit out there for a little bit that you’re going to get stiff or whatever. I need him fresh at the end of the game and you can see why. Those big shots he hit for us and the big plays – he was tremendous.”

Richardson knocked down four 3-pointers, all of which were made in the fourth quarter, to spur the Sixers’ sprint to the finish line against a feisty Bobcats team that – already – has matched its win total from last year’s strike-shortened season.

The Sixers need Richardson. He’s averaging 28.6 minutes per game, against a 34.6 minutes-per-game average for his career. His field-goal percentage is right on par with his career average, hovering around 41 percent, but his 3-point percentage is way up. He’s shooting 45 percent this season from beyond the arc, compared against 37.4 percent for his career.

So maybe Collins is onto something, in holding off on using Richardson in the middle quarters in order to get the most from him late.

“The competitor in me (wants) to play. I want to be on the floor,” Richardson said. “That’s one of the parts of getting older. You don’t want to admit it that you get tired being out there that long. I’m just doing whatever it takes to help this team win. I’ve been in there before, when I was younger in my career. It’s all about winning games and getting toward a championship.”

So how many minutes should Richardson be playing? Is his 28 per night with the Sixers the right number? Or should he be out there longer? Leave comments below.

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