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Knicks Abroad: Evan Fournier, France Finish 2nd At EuroBasket

Fournier was the French's leading scorer in the team's Sunday finale.

With his return to the New York Knicks looming, Evan Fournier was able to score some valuable championship experience with a blue basketball group. 

Fournier's offseason has been capped off with a run to EuroBasket's championship final in Berlin, a campaign that saw the second-year Knick serve as the captain for his native France. Though France fell to Spain 88-76, "Les Bleus" earned their best EuroBasket finish since another runner-up effort in 2011. 

One of the Knicks' newest single-season record-holders, Fournier led the French in scoring (15.3 per game) over the nine-contest run between Germany, the Czech Republic, Georgia, and Italy. He notably led the team with 23 points on 7-of-14 shooting from the field in Sunday's finale, his second-best scoring output of the tournament after tallying 27 against Lithuania in group play. 

Fournier previously used his position as a captain to advocate for scheduling changes to the lauded European tournament. He overcame the schedule's propensity for back-to-back contests by continuing the French momentum developed through another silver medal effort, one earned last summer during the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo.

As team captain, it was on Fournier to address what was a sloppy effort to close things out. It was a bit of a slog for the French, who lost 19 turnovers while forcing only nine.

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"Spain played better from start to finish, they had a clear gameplan," Fournier said, per EuroHoops. "We didn’t execute ours well enough, we never really had control of the game.”

Fournier, set to return to New York after breaking the team's single-season successful three-pointer mark in his debut, recently spoke about how important success on the homeland level is to him in other comments to EuroHoops. He previously earned a bronze with Les Blues when they hosted the 2015 EuroBasket affairs as well as a pair of silvers in FIBA World Cup play. 

"I have RJ Barret who plays for Canada and lost to the Czech Republic last year in the Olympic qualifiers," Fournier said. "He knows that FIBA is special, and I am sure that the American players who went to the Olympics, they know that FIBA playing is different. Still, I don’t have to explain anything." 

Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffJMags 

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