The Knicks might have to try to beat the Celtics without Evan Fournier.
He has been listed as questionable for the Saturday visit to Boston with a contused left thigh, one game after his all-or-nothing first season with the Knicks continued with his third upswing performance against his former team.
Fournier netted a career-high 41 points and tied a franchise record with 10 made 3-pointers in a buzzer-beating victory Thursday at the Garden. He is averaging 35.0 points and shooting 55.4 percent from the field with 20 3-pointers in three games this season against the Celtics. His numbers drop to 11.7 with a field-goal percentage of .388 — including a scoreless game Tuesday night at Indiana — in his other 35 appearances.
“When you go through a season like that where there’s a lot of inconsistency and you’re trying to find a rhythm and trying to cruise, you always start the day with a fresh attitude and try to attack the day with positivity and just looking forward to any challenges,” Fournier said after Thursday’s game. “That’s what I try to do. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t.”
Fournier played the latter part of last season with the Celtics after they acquired him from the Magic. He then signed a four-year deal worth up to $78 million via free agency with the Knicks.
The 29-year-old Frenchman admitted “maybe there is a little bit of extra motivation, but it is not something that I do on purpose, thinking, ‘it’s the Celtics, I have to play better,’ ” while stressing once again he and the entire team continue to strive for more consistency.
“We’re kind of looking for a way to get going and cruise and have a way to play,” Fournier said. “I feel like we don’t have that thing where we know how we’re going to play every night, then it’s kind of like the guy who gets going early is going to get a lot of attention. Which is good, but sometimes it means that you get less rhythm for other players. So there’s good and there’s bad in that.”
Kemba Walker (knee) is still listed as out for Saturday, and Nerlens Noel is questionable while ramping up activity following a stint in the NBA’s health and safety protocols. The Celtics will be without guard Payton Pritchard (health and safety). They also are planning to waive forward Jabari Parker, according to The Athletic.