Josh Richardson gave the Celtics a spark Saturday night against the Knicks, scoring 27 points in a 114-107 win in Boston. Mary Schwalm/Associated Press

BOSTON — Josh Richardson landed in Boston this offseason after his third trade in as many seasons following disappointing seasons in Philadelphia and Dallas.

Those tough years made Richardson a low cost acquisition back in July. However, as the veteran wing has started to gain a comfort level under Coach Ime Udoka, the returns have been very promising. The 28-year-old saved his best work for Saturday’s matchup against the Knicks, scoring a team-high 27 points off the bench on 9-of-14 shooting in Boston’s 114-107 victory.

He also chipped in with a strong defensive presence as Boston limited the Knicks to just 19 fourth-quarter points, slowing down Kemba Walker during crunch time to help the Celtics hold off a furious comeback.

Through 22 games this season, Richardson is putting up career bests in a number of categories including field-goal percentage (47 percent). He’s also shooting 40 percent from 3-point range, his best mark since his rookie season.

“It’s been good,” Richardson said of the transition to Boston. “Me and Ime worked together before already. So I kinda know his stuff, his values, his calls. And I gotta give credit to my teammates, you know what I’m saying, for letting me get out there and go. I can make 3s, I can do stuff like that, but I can also get going by having the ball in my hands and being able to facilitate, dribble, move and feel the game out. But I’m getting comfortable and it’s been good for me.”

The Celtics inked Richardson to an extension just weeks after acquiring him in a trade this summer and that deal is looking like a bargain with the efficient scoring and on-ball defense that he is providing. That value is only growing as the Celtics ask him to take more responsibility with so many players sidelined.

“He’s been playing pretty consistent in general,” said Udoka, who was an assistant in Philadelphia when RIichardson played for the 76ers. “You’re seeing a guy that’s getting the opportunity with some guys out, extended minutes, and obviously that’s who he is on defense. He did it for us years ago in Philadelphia. He really guards those small guards well, stays in their rear view, contests them, bothers them, uses his length there. So he was obviously huge there.”

AN UNDERMANNED KNICKS squad looked overmatched for much of the first half against Boston, trailing by double digits as the Celtics scored at ease.

However, that rhythm dissipated mere moments into the third quarter after the Knicks opened up the period on a 17-2 run, drawing the ire of Udoka in a timeout during the outburst.

“I was livid, honestly,” Udoka said of the bench discussion. “We talked about what we did well in the first half, came out and did the opposite, for the most part. I felt we got a little cute there and relaxed up 15. But give them credit, they responded well. Forty-one point quarter and then we got back to lockdown defense and holding them to 19 in the fourth quarter.

“So they responded well, we made it harder on ourselves than it had to be, but still give the group credit. Coming off a hard fought game yesterday, to come in the back-to-back, guys playing extended minutes with all the people missing. We just had a little lapse there and snapped out of it and picked it up where we left off in the first half.”

Richardson has spent time with Udoka in Philadelphia two years ago so he was not surprised by the direct criticism from the head coach. However, he would not get into specifics about what Udoka told the Celtics as they blew their big lead.

“I mean, I don’t know how much he told you and I ain’t no snitch,” Richardson said. “I can’t really get into that. He laid into us good. And that’s what good coaches know they need to do sometimes. We were bleeding. We needed to stop it and it wasn’t happening so we sat down and he let us have it, as he should have. I think that was a good moment for him going forward. He kind of said in the locker room, I don’t want to have to do that. But I was like, ‘Nah, nah. We needed that.’ I said that in front of everybody: That was good. We needed that.”

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