Ask Vitor Faverani about his game and he shakes his head.
“It’s not about my game,” he said. “This is a great team.”
When Faverani calls the Maine Red Claws “great,” he may not be talking dynasty, but he does allude to a team that plays together.
And when Maine plays like it did Saturday night, the results are usually good. The Red Claws beat the Erie BayHawks 108-103 before a sold-out Portland Expo crowd of 3,045.
Faverani is the Celtics’ back-up center who is getting some needed playing time with Maine, Boston’s NBA D-League affiliate.
He is impressing on the court, recording a double-double Saturday with 20 points and 17 rebounds while also leading the team with six assists.
“The great thing about Vitor is that he is really unselfish,” Maine Coach Mike Taylor said. “He has a commanding presence inside. But if you double-team him, he’s going to pass.”
One of those passes was a key assist to Chris Wright driving to the basket in the closing minutes. Wright and guard Frank Gaines both finished with 23 points.
But Faverani is also impressing in the locker room.
“He fits in so well,” said Chris Babb, who was with Faverani during the Celtics’ preseason camp. “Some guys come down from the NBA and take it as a demotion. They have an arrogance about them.
“(Faverani) came right in and said he loves playing with us. And we really enjoy having him.”
Babb (12 points), Faverani, Wright, Gaines and point guard Abdul Gaddy (19 points) were clutch at the end.
At first, this game did not look like it would be so close.
The Red Claws bolted to a 12-0 lead as the BayHawks missed their first seven shots.
Then Micah Downs, one of Maine’s leading scorers last year, buried a 3-pointer and Erie was on its way back. Downs finished with 20 points.
With the game tied 100-100, Faverani found Gaines open. Gaines was fouled and hit one free throw with 1:22 left for a lead Maine would not surrender again.
Erie forced the ball inside on its next possession, and it came loose. Babb scooped it up, raced down the court and was fouled. His free throws made it 103-100.
Erie missed two foul shots, then Gaddy drove into the key, on a screen set by Faverani and drilled a jumper to clinch it.
“Really good team win,” Taylor said.
Faverani is expected back in Boston for Sunday’s 1 p.m. game against the Orlando Magic. But he might rejoin the Red Claws again.
“I enjoy it every time I come here,” Faverani said. “Great people.”
The Red Claws take to the road early this week with games at Delaware on Tuesday and Canton on Thursday. They return to Portland for a 7 p.m. game Friday against Springfield.
NOTES: Downs, 27, joined Erie two weeks ago after a stint in Ukraine, where he was a teammate of former Red Claws forward DaJuan Summers.
Kevin Thomas can be reached at 791-6411 or at: