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Saturday, December 14, 2013
Notebook: C's lean on Faverani in 4th

By Chris Forsberg

BOSTON -- Jared Sullinger feasted on the New York Knicks' interior defense (or lack thereof) to the tune of 17 first-half points (Sullinger was 5-of-7 shooting and got to the charity stripe for seven free throw attempts). Naturally, with the game in the balance in the fourth quarter, Boston Celtics coach Brad Stevens leaned on rookie center Vitor Faverani instead.

Jared Sullinger, Phil Pressey
Jared Sullinger (7) had a big first half before giving way to Vitor Faverani down the stretch.
Faverani, the Brazilian import who made a big splash early in the season but has been used sparingly in recent weeks, played a team-high 10:47 in the fourth quarter, chipping in five points and four rebounds while finishing plus-13 in plus/minus for the frame as the Celtics rallied from an 11-point deficit for a 90-86 triumph at TD Garden.

Asked to explain the decision to stick with Faverani, Stevens quipped, "Very little brain power put to it. All vision of, ‘Hey, that guy’s really in a nice groove.’ [Brandon] Bass is our best bet on [Andrea] Bargnani if Jeff [Green is] going to guard Carmelo [Anthony]. And we’ve got a nice rhythm going. Vitor made a huge 3, made a huge catch-and-finish with a minute to go, but more than anything I felt like we had rim protection at a pretty good level down in the paint with him in the game and we were also rebounding. So, all gut, no math or science behind that one. That was just one of those lucky things that happened the right way."

With Boston down seven with less than nine minutes to play, Faverani drilled a 3-pointer to help aid the rally. Later, with Boston clinging to a two-point lead, Faverani worked a little pick-and-roll with Jordan Crawford that led to an easy layup and a two-possession lead with 1:07 to go.

Heck, Faverani even got switched onto Anthony at times during the fourth quarter and made it tough on New York's superstar with his length.

Stevens lamented not giving the first-year center more time during Wednesday's loss to the visiting Los Angeles Clippers. This time around he stuck with Faverani and was rewarded. And Sullinger was perfectly fine with playing the role of spectator down the stretch.

"I’m happy for Vitor," said Sullinger. "He’s been a pro's pro, never complained. ... He played great [and] helped us win."

Courtney Lee
Courtney Lee was feeling good after nailing a first-quarter buzzer-beater.
A handful of notes after Boston's come-from-behind triumph over New York: