Evan Fournier 2021 Celtics vs. Pelicans observations. has his worst game .
Evan Fournier Evan Fournier his Pelicans vs. observations: game worst Celtics has …
Tue, 30 Mar 2021 08:00:00 -0700
Evan Fournier's Boston Celtics debut was not one that he'll want to remember
The Boston Celtics were on a two-game winning streak heading into Monday night’s game against the New Orleans Pelicans.
They were kickstarting a seven-game homestand and playing in front of fans at TD Garden for the first time in 386 days.
Everything seemed ready to break in the Celtics’ favor, but against the Pelicans, they came up short.
The C’s lost 115-109.
They trailed for most of the game against the Pelicans and just couldn’t quite get over the hump in the end.
It was a disappointing loss for the Celtics, who once again find themselves below .500 on the season at 23-24.
One of the reasons they found themselves in the loss column on Monday was a poor offensive performance from their newest player.
Here are three observations from Boston’s defeat at the hands of New Orleans.
After sitting out the first two Celtics games after the 2021 NBA trade deadline, Evan Fournier made his team debut against the Pelicans.
With Jaylen Brown (hip) out, there was an opportunity for Fournier to get some extra work off the bench and his scoring would be needed to help balance out Brown’s absence.
Alas, Fournier’s didn’t go well on offense.
Fournier played 33 minutes, by far the most of any bench player and tied for third-most on the team with Kemba Walker.
In those 33 minutes, Fournier was unable to score.
It wasn’t for a lack of trying.
He took 10 shots during the game; he just couldn’t make any of them.
That was a departure from his above-league-average shooting in 26 games played this season.
From the start, Fournier was slightly off.
He back-rimmed most of his attempts during the game and couldn’t get right.
When he tried to take a little something off his shot to get a make, he launched an ugly air-ball on a corner 3-ball.
From there, he went back to hitting everything off the back rim until he shot another awkward air-ball during the C’s comeback bid.
Fournier’s Celtics debut was his worst game of the season.
There’s no doubt about it.
He had only failed to score in double figures three times on the season.
And his only game with fewer than eight points came when he scored three against the Philadelphia 76ers in just seven minutes of action before leaving with an injury.
Aside from his shooting woes, Fournier wasn’t too bad.
He was particularly solid on defense and logged two steals and a couple of blocks.
C’s fans won’t be happy with Fournier’s shooting in his debut, but they can take comfort in knowing that he almost certainly won’t be this bad in another game this year.
He should have a good chance to bounce back on Wednesday against the Dallas Mavericks.
Smart had some good moments against the Pelicans, especially when he drove to the hoop and converted on layups.
But he also made one of the most head-scratching plays of the NBA season.
After Payton Pritchard forced a jump ball with 0.3 seconds left on the shot clock for New Orleans, the C’s were supposed to get the ball.
Even if the Pelicans won the jump ball, they’d run out of time before they could get a shot off.
As such, Brandon Ingram decided to let Pritchard just win the jump ball.
Pritchard tapped it back to Smart who then proceeded to wildly fling the ball all the way downcourt, as you can see below.
Obviously, Smart thought the shot clock ran when the ball is touched off a jump ball, but it actually only runs once a team gains possession of it.
So, his ridiculous-looking 46-foot halfcourt heave counted as a 3-point shot and the Pelicans got the ball as a result of the play.
At the time, Boston was trailing by four.
After the play, they were all sorts of discombobulated and struggled to generate offense.
The Pelicans went on a 20-8 run over the next 10 minutes of game action and extended their lead to as many as 16 during that span.
Smart certainly should’ve known better than to launch that halfcourt shot — or to try to make up for it by taking a difficult 3-point shot on his next possession — but the Celtics needed to show more poise and ability to bounce back after that mistake.
They didn’t, and that’s a big part of why they lost the game.
As disappointing as the Celtics’ loss to the Pelicans was, there was a big positive at the end of it.
They cut a 17-point lead to just three thanks to another fourth-quarter run that was largely keyed by Jayson Tatum.
After scoring 16 points in the first quarter, Tatum was largely quiet for the next two quarters.
But in the fourth, he came alive again and was particularly strong during the final minutes of the game.
In about a three-minute span, the C’s went on a 15-0 run.
Tatum had seven of those points.
That included an impressive shot that brought the C’s within one possession of tying the game.
Jayson Tatum with a HUGE three
Celtics Rewind is presented by @tmobile pic.twitter.com/cBLxVzc6dz
This effort from Tatum came after he had 13 fourth quarter points and helped orchestrate a 19-0 run against the Oklahoma City Thunder on Saturday.
It’s true that neither the Thunder nor the Pelicans are very good on defense, but it still speaks to the fact that the Celtics are improving their ability to play in late-game situations.
The team once ranked dead-last in fourth quarter margin but have improved to 25th-ranked in recent weeks.
If Tatum can continue to score at will in key, late-game situations, that should bode well for the Celtics regardless of what they’re able to do for the rest of this season.
Evan Fournier Evan Fournier
Tue, 30 Mar 2021 08:00:00 -0700
That said, we're talking about a really, really good scorer who had 19
7 ppg with the Orlando Magic before the trade and the hope was he'd take his three-point
Evan Fournier — the seasoned NBA vet whose name you’re NOT supposed to Google even if he tells you to do it as a joke — wasn’t exactly the best NBA trade deadline acquisition made by teams last week.
That said, we’re talking about a really, really good scorer who had 19.7 ppg with the Orlando Magic before the trade and the hope was he’d take his three-point shooting with him to Boston.
His first game was on Monday night, and in a 115-109 loss to the New Orleans Pelicans … I’ll just say that I bet he’ll have some way better games than this going forward:
Evan Fournier Celtics debut:
That’s the most scoreless minutes by a Celtic with 10+ attempts since the three-point era (1980).
— StatMuse (@statmuse) March 30, 2021
Evan Fournier Celtics debut:
0 points 🔥
0-9 from the field 🥵
0-5 from three 💦
-23 plus/minus 💪 pic.twitter.com/LcX4Cpr42b
— Deezy (@DozMan98) March 30, 2021
Evan Fournier’s Boston debut was not great
0 assists pic.twitter.com/Y65OD668rZ
— Kirk Goldsberry (@kirkgoldsberry) March 30, 2021
Nice 4th quarter comeback for #Celtics, but still an ugly loss overall.
Good news is Evan Fournier will be better next game… because he can't possibly play any worse.
Fournier's Boston debut:
0 points (0-10 FG, 0-5 3PT)
This was his 10th shot 😖 pic.twitter.com/weLXsaG4Ge
— Jon Jacobson (@Jon_NBA) March 30, 2021
Better days are ahead, but between this and the Celtics underachieving overall, this can’t feel good.
Russell Westbrook has had a pretty rough season — at least by his standards.
He hasn’t shot the ball well all year and has turned it over a bunch.
He’s also looked a step slower on some nights, which is reasonable at 32 years old.
But Westbrook might have played his best NBA game ever against the Pacers on Monday.
It’s definitely in the running.
The Wizards point guard put up numbers that no one has ever seen before — quite literally.
He finished the game with 35 points, 14 rebounds and 21 (!!!) assists to lead the Wizards to a…
The Charlotte Hornets and Phoenix Suns played an entertaining game on Sunday afternoon that ended with a Suns 101-97 overtime win, but plenty of fans came away from that game focusing on who didn’t score.
Hornets forward P.J.
Washington is essentially mirroring his statistical output from his rookie season at 12.2 points per game.
But on Sunday, he played an entire 44 minutes of basketball and didn’t score at all.
It wasn’t for a lack of opportunities either.
Washington took seven shots and two free throws.
And still, he put up zero points in FOURTY-FOUR MINUTES.
That exceeded the 28 scoreless minutes…
Kevin Durant, thank you.
Thank you for tweeting on through it.
“It” being your life and career and the storms you conjure just by being you and trying to do what you’d like to do.
Thanks for letting us see the conversation in your head, for engaging with us all when nobody would blame you for retracting and thank you, most of all, for revealing you’re just a conflicted human who happens to be insanely good at scoring the basketball.
We’re not even a week past Durant dunking on somebody telling him to calm down with “No relax champ” because…
Sign up for the Morning Win newsletter for an irreverent and incisive recap of daily sports news.
– March 30, 2021