According to Cleaning the Glass, the duo played 146 possessions together. After Fournier’s arrival, he was briefly sidelined due to a false positive COVID test, then sidelined for three weeks due to a real test. Walker, meanwhile, has missed the last four games after suffering from a tense team. In all, Fournier has played more games with Luke Kornet (seven) than with Walker (six).
But those 146 possessions held great promise for the Celtics. With Walker and Fournier on the ground, the Celtics beat their opponents by 23.5 points per 100 possessions.
” I think that [Fournier] and Kemba really love playing with each other, ”said Brad Stevens uninvited after the Celtics’ resounding victory over the Magic on Wednesday. “I think it’s got a chance to have good chemistry, we just haven’t seen that much yet. I think they just played against each other for so long, I think they are intrigued by that as well. I think he looks a little more comfortable every night.
Walker and Fournier have been rivals in the Southeast Division for years – Walker in Charlotte and Fournier in Orlando. As a duo, they’ve been part of a rejuvenated Celtics squad that looks significantly more cohesive than the roster put together at the start of the season.
“He just knows how to play the game the right way,” Walker said. “I’ve been playing Evan for years now. But he’s an incredible player. I think we just had instant chemistry. It’s just fun to play with.
On Wednesday, Walker – fresh out of rehab and recovered from his side tension – racked up 32 points and led the Celtics over Fournier’s former team. Meanwhile, Fournier dropped 18 points on an 8 for 14 shot and scored in a number of ways, including a few back shots around the paint.
“He’s mastered this runner in the lane,” noted longtime Magic play-by-play broadcaster David Steele – who has seen a few of Fournier’s baskets over the years.
This quality will immediately make the coaches love Fournier. The Celtics seem to have an affinity for big wings that can handle the ball, and Fournier is a prime example.
“I’m trying to find ways to get shots for my teammates,” Fournier said. “And it’s true that it’s not easy, but I feel like Kemba and I are playing well together because – I don’t know, maybe because we had the same coach in previous years. Maybe this is the reason? But he’s the type of player who can really catch up and shoot each other and play against each other, and when I’m driving I’m looking for my teammates. Sometimes it’s open, so I’m just trying to hit it.
A lot has been (correctly) done of Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown this season, and they remain by far the two most important players for the Celtics. But as Tatum and Brown establish the Celtics’ ground as a playoff team, their ceiling could be determined by the performance of secondary stars like Walker and Fournier.
Walker recognized Fournier’s importance to the Celtics’ playoff prospects.
“We have to move it forward,” Walker said. “We know what he’s capable of. I know what he’s capable of. It will be huge for us in the home stretch. We need him, a lot of time.
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