Evan Fournier Shrugs Off Lackluster Performance In First Game Back

Fournier was 0-for-7 in 22 minutes in his return game

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April 23, 2021

Evan Fournier was back on the floor for the Boston Celtics on Friday night.

That’s pretty much where the good news ends.

Fournier’s performance Friday during a 109-104 loss to the Brooklyn Nets looked like someone who had missed the last nine games after contracting COVID-19 — especially when considering the 28-year-old was acquired ahead of the NBA trade deadline, meaning he’s played just four total games with the C’s.

Fournier, though, was just happy to be back on the floor.

“That was my plan. I probably could have waited a few more days or a few more games to feel better, but I just got here and I need reps to play with the guys to really understand the system offensively and defensively,” Fournier said on a postgame video conference. “So I only had two days of practice and, for me, the most important thing is just being out there. It’s going to be hard, obviously, but I have to fight through it and push through it because for me that’s the only way I’m going feel better at some point.”

Fournier played 22 minutes in the loss, right on par to the “low 20s” minute restriction head coach Brad Stevens had noted prior to the game. Fournier was 0-for-7 from the field with two points, five assists and two rebounds.

“Obviously that’s not how I wanted to play, you want to win every game you’re in obviously, but I think it was really important for me to get that first game in, just get back out there,” Fournier said. “I’m going to be tired, but that’s positive. That’s good.”

Stevens admitted that, especially in the short term, Fournier likely is going to struggle as he gets his wind back and tries to regain the feel of the game, but he’s confident it will come. Fourier, after all, scored 23 and 17 points respectively in his final two games before landing in the league’s coronavirus protocols.

“He’s going to probably, very likely at least, going to struggle and we just don?t have time to practice. He’s got to play, he’s got to get himself up to speed,” Stevens said on a postgame conference call. “That was a unique group there at the end when we were coming back with Jabari (Parker) and Evan. Not a lot of Celtics corporate knowledge, obviously five games and four games in between them. But I thought they did a lot of good things.

“Evan obviously couldn’t make a shot…. But it is good to get him those minutes. I don’t think he’ll have many games like that.”

Jayson Tatum noted it’s up to the Celtics to help Fournier get to a point they’re comfortable with, too.

“His transition hasn’t been just as smooth. It’s our job to help him with that process,” Tatum said on a postgame conference call.

Fournier and the 32-28 Celtics will travel to face the Charlotte Hornets on Sunday.

Thumbnail photo via Brad Penner/USA TODAY Sports Images
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