Fournier, Williams ignite Celtics in 118-102 win over Houston

From his debut as a Celtic, when Evan Fournier shot 0-for-10 against the Pelicans, and from his first two games, when he couldn’t buy a 3-pointer, Brad Stevens could tell the veteran wing was going to be fine.

“I can already tell he’s not really a guy that rides the emotional roller coaster,” the Celtics coach said after the Celtics’ 118-102 win over Houston. “He’s a pretty even-keeled guy and he’s come into work every day and gotten his normal amount of shots up. Doesn’t look bothered by the fact that he started in that first game 0-for-10. Didn’t look bothered by the fact that we didn’t give him enough shots as a team the other day. He’s just trying to figure out how he can help impact us and we did a better job of finding him tonight, especially once he got going.”

Fournier certainly had a quiet, savory night planned, involving a glass of wine. French wine, he made sure everyone knew. And perhaps everyone in a Celtics uniform should toast their new teammate — and Rob Williams too — for the way this twosome helped snap another discouraging two-game losing streak.

At a time when there’s little the Celtics can count on — at least with any consistency — nights like this one are a treasure, regardless of the opponent. Houston came into Friday night’s game with the second-fewest wins in the league (13) and left that way,

Beyond the customary 26 points from Jayson Tatum and 22 from Jaylen Brown, the supporting cast blew the game open.

Fournier, 1-for-6 heading into the fourth quarter, with the only make his first 3-pointer as a Celtic, found his range with a six-trey, 20-point fourth to help blow the margin open. He finished with 23 points, including 7-for-11 3-point shooting — the seven treys a career high.

Rob Williams, with a career-high 20-point performance on 9-for-9 shooting, also fell just shy of his first career triple-double with nine rebounds and eight assists.

“Just feeling great, honestly. It’s that comfortability, but obviously getting more comfortable with the more minutes I play,” said Williams. “I feel like if it stays that way I’m going to get better.

“I’d just say I’m learning my spots, learning where I’m gonna score at, off seals, throwbacks, tip-ins, waiting around for the rebound,” he said. “I feel like I had to take time to realize I’m gonna get the points at.”

And then there’s the young center’s passing, including a kick-out from under the basket for a Fournier 3-pointer in the fourth quarter.

“Honestly, since Evan came my big emphasis has been just to get him going,” said Williams. “You know, obviously being a new player and not being able to make a shot, it’s a relief when you can make them. So we kept feeding him. Once he hit one, he hit like four or five in a row. We need that, for sure.”

By the end of the night it was worth an entire bottle of Burgundy.

“It obviously didn’t feel good waking up after 0-for-10,” said Fournier. “I don’t think I shot 0-for-10 in my career. It felt like (expletive), to be honest, but you got to move on. You have a game the next day and you have to keep moving forward. Like I said many times, I try to stay in the moment and the next day, I went to the gym and got some shots up. That’s it.

“Honestly, just experience. We have so many games,” he said of developing that famous even keel. “Early on in my career, when I had a few bad games in a row, I used to be really hard on myself and talk to me in a way that wasn’t positive. We feel very deflated and I would be down all day. When I had a great game or a few games in a row I would really perform I would feel incredible.

“Like, I would have extreme confidence. Over the course of a season with 82 games or 72 this year, you know you can’t sustain that. You gotta have like a mentality where you can perform all year long with the same attitude. I think it’s just experience at that point.”

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