Vitor Faverani pumped his fist with emphasis after making a free throw during the Maine Red Claws’ rally.
Think these Boston Celtics players are passive when they come down to the D-League?
Faverani, a 6-foot-11 backup center for the Celtics, helped fuel Maine’s comeback Saturday night in a 115-104 victory over the Fort Wayne Mad Ants before 2,757 at the Portland Expo.
Faverani was sent down Saturday to get in some playing time. He finished with 13 points, seven rebounds and three assists before fouling out with 5:21 left.
“This was a great experience,” Faverani said. “I love this team.”
Frank Gaines paced Maine with 30 points. Sherwood Brown scored 19, Damon Bell-Holter added 17, and Chris Babb hit five 3-pointers for 15 points.
Maine (10-14) trailed the whole game until it began the fourth quarter with a 16-0 run, taking a 100-88 lead.
Fort Wayne (15-10) fell into second place in the East Division, a game behind Canton.
The game took over 2½ hours, with 58 fouls called and 81 free throws attempted.
Maine lost leading scorer Chris Wright with 7:50 left in the first quarter when he drove to the basket and was poked in the face, drawing blood.
While Wright was being tended to, Coach Mike Taylor called a timeout. But Wright was not ready to return, and forward Zeke Marshall subbed in and took Wright’s free throws.
When Wright was ready to return two minutes later, the referees would not allow it, citing a rule that disqualifies a player if he leaves a game without attempting his free throws. Taylor argued and was hit with a technical foul.
“The official said I could call a timeout and I assumed when I did, (Wright) could come back in,” Taylor said. “Obviously I don’t sub out Chris Wright if he can’t come back in. The communication was poor.”
Fort Wayne led by as much as 15. But Maine closed to 88-84 after the third quarter.
To start the fourth, Fort Wayne missed seven straight shots and Maine rebounded every one. Faverani became a force underneath, scoring four points and making two assists during the run.
“Vitor’s play on the court made a huge difference for us,” Taylor said. “The toughest thing for guys when they come down is embracing it, and he had such a great attitude.”
Brown tied it with a layup on a pass from Faverani, and Bell-Holter gave Maine the lead for good, 91-88, with a 3-pointer.
NOTES: Faverani was headed back to Boston after the game, said Celtics President Danny Ainge, who was in attendance. … The two players obtained by the Red Claws in last week’s three-team trade were eligible to play. Forward Daniel Orton started. Guard Tyler Brown has not yet been activated. Maine traded its rights to former Celtics center Fab Melo to Texas in the deal. … Guard Corey Allmond was waived. He played in 21 games, averaging 8.6 minutes and 2.6 points. … The Red Claws will be back at the Expo Friday and Saturday against Delaware and Erie.
Kevin Thomas can be reached at 791-6411 or at: