The New York Knicks won a thriller against the Boston Celtics in their opening night game.
In a double overtime victory, several Knicks came up big, but perhaps none of them came up bigger than new signing Evan Fournier. While Julius Randle led the team in scoring and was the primary playmaker all night, Fournier hit several clutch shots, including a three that came late in the double OT period.
Fournier has been coveted around the league for his shooting, so this is the type of performance the Knicks expected out of him, but there’s way they could have thought it would come so soon.
Fournier finished the night with 32 points and four steals, showing that he can provide on both ends of the court. While he doesn’t provide the same level of defense as departed guard Reggie Bullock did, his offense can reach a different level, and the tradeoff appears to have been worth it so far.
Evan Fournier was the first big splash the Knicks made in the offseason, and fans were iffy on the move at first glance. With a massive four year, $78 million deal, it was easy to wonder if this was an overpay.
Those doubters were silenced at least for a night after the sharpshooter played a key role in the win over the Celtics. For the first time in Knicks history, two players scored at least 30 points in the season opener, a stat that’s cool, but also something that fans will want to see a lot more of.
With Randle taking on the bulk of the playmaking and controlling the offense, Fournier might find himself with several more opportunities to chip in with big games like this in the future.
“We have seen him do that, that is who he is,” coach Tom Thibodeau said via the New York Post. “I was never worried about him making shots. To me, he has proven throughout his career that that is who he is.”
Randle found himself double teamed a lot last night, so he had to dish it to the open man and Fournier was on the receiving end of that a few times.
12 of his 32 points came in the OT and double OT periods, meaning that he still had enough left in the tank to help the Knicks pull out a victory.
Can He Keep It Up?
Fournier will most likely not be a 30 points per game scorer this season, but he can definitely provide 15-20 if he continues to hit his open shots that he’ll have a lot of this season.
He’s also shown he can make his own shot and get to the basket when he wants to, something that Bullock wasn’t able to really do while he was on the Knicks. In the playoffs last year, the offense really broke down when the Hawks took Randle out of the game, so having players like Fournier will help take the pressure off him.
There are still 81 more games that have to be played, but if the Knicks are able to look as good as they did against the Celtics, and that’s without the talents of both Taj Gibson and Nerlens Noel, then they’ll be in a really good spot all season long.