I’ll admit, there was a point in the second quarter where I wondered if Evan Fournier was ever going to really find a groove in Boston.
Yes, he’d hit his first basket, a 3-pointer, but his shots after that felt rushed. An off-balance corner 3 and a fadeaway in the lane were both way off, and the fleeting thoughts of whether the role or the pressure might just not work in Boston dashed across my cerebrum.
Then the fourth quarter began.
One fell. Then another. And a third and fourth, all within a span of 2:16, and all of them assisted by Robert Williams.
“Since Evan came, my big emphasis has been just to get him going,” Williams said after his eight assist night and win over Houston. “You know, obviously being a new player and not being able to make a shot, it’s a relief when you can make them. So we kept feeding him. Once he hit one, he hit like four or five in a row. We need that, for sure.”
Brad Stevens lauded Fournier’s demeanor, seizing the chance to highlight that Fournier is “a pretty even-keeled guy. ... (he) doesn't look bothered by the fact that he started in that first game 0-for-10. Didn't look bothered by the fact that we didn't give him enough shots as a team the other day. He's just trying to figure out how he can help impact us and we did a better job of finding him tonight, especially once he got going.”
Still, he’s human.
“It obviously didn't feel good waking up after 0-for-10. I don't think I shot 0-for-10 in my career,” he said. “It felt like shit, to be honest, but you got to move on. You have a game the next day and you have to keep moving forward. Like I said many times, I try to stay in the moment and the next day.”
And herein lies the twofold find in Fournier. The Celtics have needed two things: scoring off the bench and someone who doesn't hear a flushing sound in his brain when adversity hits. Fournier could be both.
“Early on in my career, when I had a few bad games in a row, I used to be really hard on myself and talk to me in a way that wasn't positive,” he said. “We feel very deflated and I would be down all day. When I had a great game or a few games in a row I would really perform I would feel incredible. Like, I would have extreme confidence. Over the course of a season with 82 games or 72 this year, you know, you can't sustain that. You gotta have a mentality where you can perform all year long with the same attitude. I think it's just experience at that point."
How refreshing does that sound? Stevens probably wants to take that quote and