BOSTON — There is one team Evan Fournier has proven he can score against — the Celtics.
But the French shooting guard, in his first rocky season with the Knicks, can’t catch a break. Instead of building upon his career-high 41-point performance from the Knicks’ last-second win over the Celtics on Thursday, Fournier missed the rematch Saturday, a 99-75 loss, with a bruised hip, as the Knicks tallied their lowest point total of the season.
“He was definitely missed, especially after the game he had last time,’’ RJ Barrett said.
Fournier has scored at least 32 points in each of the Knicks’ three matchups with the Celtics so far this season, but he was in a zone beyond the stratosphere Thursday at the Garden. He went 10-for-14 on 3-pointers to tie J.R. Smith’s franchise record.
Though he’s been up and down this season, it was just the second game Fournier, who shown more durability than in the past, has missed this season. He has had shoulder woes and a recent ankle injury, but played through them.
The amazing part of Fournier’s 41-point game is it came two days after he was held scoreless Tuesday versus the Pacers. Despite his inconsistency, Fournier still is averaging 13.5 points and shooting 38.1 percent from 3-point range to spark an offense that is 21st in the league in points per 100 possessions.
The narrative that the Knicks’ defense has suffered because of Fournier misses the point that the offense would be dead without him.
“The defense has pretty much been there,’’ Knicks coach Tom Thibodeau said before the game Saturday. “It’s the offense that has been inconsistent.’’
The starting lineup has been in flux since late November, when Thibodeau demoted Kemba Walker for Alec Burks at point guard. Saturday, Thibodeau decided to start Immanuel Quickley with Burks in the backcourt.
When the Knicks overcame a 25-point deficit to win Thursday, it was the franchise’s largest comeback victory since March 14, 2004 at Milwaukee, a game in which they trailed by 26. That was the only time in the past 25 years they had rallied from 25 or more points. The Knicks had been 1-229 when trailing by 25 points in a game, per Forbes.