Things really didn’t look good for one of the NBA’s 1988 expansion franchises. Midway through the 1988-89 NBA season, the Miami Heat had a dismal 4-37 W-L ratio. So, when the Golden State Warriors arrived in town on January 30th, 1989, their head coach Don Nelson commanded ‘the full-scale attack to all of his troops’!
The Warriors offensive onslaught was spear-headed by versatile lefty forward Chris Mullin who could score at will – he could hit a perimeter J over a shorter player or take it to the hoop vs. a taller player. And this Miami Heat group was inexperienced and not up to the task – its most experienced player was the point guard Rory Sparrow.
Mullin and Richmond made their presence felt all over the court offering their basketball version of ‘Batman & Robbin’. Mullin kept collecting the boards, relentlessly leading the break and creating the numbers for the Warriors in the transition.
The 1988-89 campaign was Mullin’s career year; he averaged his career-best 26.5 points and 5.9 boards while shooting 50.9% from the floor and 89.2% from the charity stripe.
Richmond either scored a transition J from the wing or uncontested lay-up. But if the Warriors somehow missed their opportunity to score, he was there to collect the offensive board and correct it!
That night in Miami, the rookie Richmond was just feeling it and filling it from any given spot on the floor! He finished the game with 26 points on 9-21 shooting while also collecting 8 boards and 4 dimes.
With the game on the line, it was Chris Mullin who took the ball in his hands and scored an off-balance leaner in a duel with the Heat’s forward Billy Thompson. The Warriors cruised to an easy 105-98 win.
In Miami, Richmond rounded off a brilliant string of performances, which helped him win the January 1989 Rookie of the Year award, on a path towards winning the 1988-89 NBA Rookie of the Year award.
The Warriors’ rookie shooting guard appeared as a starter in all 79 of his rookie season games while amazing fans across the States and averaging 22.0 ppg, to go along with 5.9 rpg and 4.2 apg.
With the arrival of point guard Tim Hardaway in the summer of 1989, the stage was set for the beginning of the new era in the history of the Warriors basketball – the ‘Run TMC’ era!