By Johnny Askounis/ email@example.com
Following a rough patch, French swingman Evan Fournier has been looking much more comfortable in recent games, including the 26-point showing in the New York Knicks win against the Los Angeles Lakers at Madison Square Garden.
“Regardless of what’s going on and how we play, I always try to focus on myself,” he said after Tuesday’s game, “I try to play the best I can, trying to be aggressive and take what is in front of me, be decisive in everything I do.”
Fournier, 29, was held to 8.7 points per game and to 30/79 field goals over the first nine games of November. Breaking out of the slump with 19 points opposite the Houston Rockets last Saturday was followed up with three points behind 1/7 from the field in the loss to the Chicago Bulls on Sunday. A couple of days later, he recovered once again with a team-high 26 points, powered by 2/5 two-pointers and 6/9 three-pointers in 42 minutes against the Lakers.
“Of course, I am more comfortable on the court than on the bench,” he pointed out laughingly asked to comment on being reassigned by head coach Tom Thibodeau to a playing option in the fourth quarter, “Obviously, as a player, you want to stay on the court as long as possible.”
Despite missing suspended LeBron James, the visiting side fought back from a 25-point deficit to tie the game in the third quarter but failed to get in the lead.
“This game is a perfect example of how we play,” noted Fournier, “We are very capable of playing really really good basketball. Getting big leads. And all of a sudden, not so well. Then they get comfortable. We lose the rhythm and let them back into the game.”
“It would be really interesting to find a stat and see on all the game we have played, how many times we had a 15-point lead,” he added looking for his side to build more length on positive stretches, “We have to keep playing the same way. For us, I think the key is going to be to find that balance and that rhythm. We can be really good. We just have to trust how we play.”
The Knicks jumped to 10-8, a record good enough for a four-way tie in sixth place of the Eastern Conference.
“We all have a positive attitude,” mentioned the experienced French player, “We all want to play well and win games. Our attitude is great right now. We’re headed in the right direction. I think that is very encouraging.”
The streaking Phoenix Suns are scheduled to visit MSG on Friday.
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