MIAMI — Evan Fournier was aware of the history he was approaching Wednesday night in Charlotte, just one three-point field goal away from becoming the Knicks’ all-time single-season leader. And he had struggled on this night to get there, missing three attempts in a row and now sitting on the bench waiting for another turn.

“Just before that I had three good looks that I missed off the catch,” Fournier said after the game. “I made a joke on the bench I want to hit a good-looking three for the record. It just happened I had a good mismatch with [Mason] Plumlee in front of me. He kept backing up. So I had a wide-open step-back.”

Even that wasn’t quite as simple as he described it. After he tied the record with his 217th while falling to the floor in front of the Knicks' bench, he set the mark with a step-back three-pointer, not the sort of shot that was encouraged when John Starks set the franchise mark in the 1994-95 season.

When he got to the locker room afterward, team staff played him a video message from Starks and he spoke of his plans to speak to friends and family to take in the moment.

It hasn’t always been an easy season for Fournier. The last time the Knicks were in Charlotte early in the season, he spoke about finding his place after he was benched in fourth quarters.

A ball-dominant offensive threat throughout his career, he signed with the Knicks in the summer to aid a team in need of offensive help that had been knocked out of the postseason by Atlanta easily. His defense didn’t fit with Knicks coach Tom Thibodeau’s wishes, and he started the games but didn’t close them. But as the season wore on, he found his role.

“It’s like bittersweet,” Fournier said. “I’m proud, happy about it. At the same time, it’s a team sport. You want to have success. For my case, I feel like it really took me a couple of months to figure out how I would be able to help this team. I want to thank Thibs for putting me in that position. That’s what he expected from me.

“It took me a couple of months to understand that. I’ve always been an aggressive player, coming off curls and stuff. We have guys that do that already. My role was going to be different from the start. To find a reason and understand what’s expected of you when you’re new, sometimes it takes a little bit. Since January I feel a lot better and really understand my role, and it’s been better since then."

"He’s a pro’s pro,” Thibodeau said. “I think like with most shooters, and he’s an accomplished guy in the league, you have to have a short memory. We know Starks had probably the shortest memory of all. He always thought the next one was going on. I think most shooters are like that. I think any time you come into a new situation, if you’re a shooter, it takes a little time to settle in. Your teammates have to get to know you, you have to get to know them. But he’s been playing really well.”

Despite the criticism, he has been as advertised. His 14.4 points per game is a tick above his career average of 14.3. In a long season in which none of the pieces have seemed to fit quite right, Fournier has managed to do what he was paid to do: provide another offensive threat, and in this case, a historic one.

“I have a lot of emotions,” he said. “I’m proud, happy. I’m thankful for all the assists I got from my teammates, guys putting me in the situation to break the record. The fact it’s such a big, historical franchise, take the record from John Starks, famous guy, famous player, it’s hard to put words on exactly how I feel, but I’m going to be on calls with friends and parents. It’s going to be a great night.”


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