Playing through a bit of back stiffness that nearly shelved him for Wednesday's preseason finale, Faverani instead earned his first career start and responded with 15 points, 7 rebounds and 6 blocks over 28 minutes as the Celtics topped the Brooklyn Nets 101-97 at TD Garden.
Faverani, a 25-year-old rookie from Brazil, blocked four shots during a 10-minute first-quarter shift and didn't slow down from there. Even as he was forced to lie on the floor near the Boston bench when he was off the court, often getting stretched out by the training staff, Faverani showed no ill effects on the floor.
Celtics coach Brad Stevens said the challenge for Faverani now is building off Wednesday's effort.
"I thought Vitor was really good," Stevens said. "Now I think the challenge for Vitor is, coming off of success, how do you handle that? I think that he’s shown nothing but a good maturity about him thus far. And I don’t have any reason to think that he won’t handle it well. For a rookie out there, I thought he looked pretty darn good -- albeit an old [rookie]."
Over eight preseason appearances, Faverani averaged 7.3 points, 4.4 rebounds and 1.3 blocks over 15.5 minutes per game. He got elevated to a starting role Wednesday with Jared Sullinger not with the team due to illness. Stevens admitted he liked having the extra length of the 6-foot-11 Faverani -- Boston's only true center -- with the starting unit. Stevens added that, regardless of who starts and who comes off the bench, the Celtics need all of their bigs to contribute moving forward.
But there's an awful lot to like about Faverani.
"He’s got great hands," Stevens said. "You should see him throw a baseball pass right-handed, and then you should see him throw it left-handed. It’s pretty remarkable. Maybe we’ll have him do that Friday night at the [team's open practice at TD Garden]. But he’s a guy that does have some things that are hard to find in bigs."
Read on for a few quick hits after Boston's victory to wrap up its eight-game exhibition slate:
* JET'S RETURN TRIP: Nets guard Jason Terry, who spent one lackluster season with Boston last year before being shipped to Brooklyn with Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce as part of the summer blockbuster, made his preseason debut against his former team on Wednesday. Terry finished with seven points on 3-of-7 shooting with three assists and two rebounds. He did his trademark runway pose after his only 3-pointer of the night. Was it special for him to be back in Boston? "It was special just to see some of my fans that were courtside that I used to talk to and throw headbands and stuff to," Terry said. "They gave me a warm welcome, and that was good."
* MOVING IN THE RIGHT DIRECTION: Gerald Wallace questioned his team's effort level after a particularly gruesome effort in a loss to the Minnesota Timberwolves on Sunday in Montreal. The team responded with what Stevens considered one of the best practices of the season on Tuesday. Then Wednesday the team battled back from an early double-digit deficit to close the exhibition slate on a high note. "I think we’re moving in a good direction, playing together, and hopefully our practice on Tuesday led to tonight," Stevens said. "And hopefully our practice [Thursday] leads to a good one on Friday and we can build day by day. It’s going to be a day-by-day process. Anybody that gets bored with the process will be bored pretty quickly because that’s the way it’s going to have to be with this group."
* STAY READY: Stevens crunched the rotation to 10 players on Wednesday, which meant MarShon Brooks earned a healthy DNP (and Keith Bogans did not play despite being available for the first time since spraining his left thumb against the 76ers earlier this month). Said Stevens, "I think the biggest thing is that certain guys played a lot of minutes tonight. Certain guys didn’t play. And all of those guys have to be ready. I wouldn’t call any of our lineups definitive, or as definitive as I’d like."