BOSTON — Most teams have only played a couple of games, but it's never too early to start targeting players for awards.
Although the Celtics (0-2) remain winless after their 105-98 loss to Milwaukee on Friday night, Celtics center Vitor Faverani is making a strong case early on for Rookie of the Year consideration.
In his first two regular season games (both starts), Faverani has averaged a double-double of 12.5 points and 10.5 rebounds, along with 4.5 blocks per game.
"The one thing that I really appreciated and respect about Vitor is Vitor works as hard as anyone on our team," said Celtics coach Brad Stevens. "If I had to say that two of the guys that are in the gym most consistently and are doing every single thing every single day, I'd say Vitor along with [Rajon] Rondo. Those guys. They really work at an elite level. And it's paying off for Vitor."
His play was among the highlights for a Celtics team that's 0-2 for the second year in a row.
Here's a glimpse at how factors outlined prior to the game actually played out Friday.
WHAT TO LOOK FOR: Turnovers are always a concern. But for a Milwaukee team that will likely be without Brandon Knight (hamstring) and backup Luke Ridenour (back), it affords an already-aggressive Avery Bradley an even greater opportunity to significantly impact the game against Gary Neal (a combo guard like himself) and rookie second-round pick Nate Wolters.
WHAT HAPPENED: Boston's defense never seemed to phase the Bucks, who committed just seven turnovers as a team. And Wolters had the poise of a veteran for the Bucks, tallying 14 points off the bench to go with a game-high six assists.
MATCHUP TO WATCH: Jeff Green vs. O.J. Mayo: This is where the Green-at-shooting-guard experiment could go really wrong, unless Green attacks Mayo offensively as hard as Mayo will surely go at him.
WHAT HAPPENED: Neither player did much on Friday, with Green scoring 13 points on 4-for-13 shooting while Mayo had 8 points on 2-for-9 shooting.
PLAYER TO WATCH: Gerald Wallace only took one shot while playing 40 minutes in the Celtics' loss at Toronto. Brad Stevens will try and get him more scoring opportunities tonight.
WHAT HAPPENED: Wallace was better offensively, with 14 points on 5-for-9 shooting. Still, he is trying to create his own shot far too often which has been a major factor in him leading the Celtics in turnovers in each of their first two games.
STAT TO TRACK: The Celtics were just 3-for-13 on 3s against the Raptors, so Brad Stevens has encouraged them to do the only thing that makes sense - keep shooting. Do not be surprised if Boston shoots closer to the what they did in the preseason when it wasn't uncommon for them to launch 20 or more 3s in a game.
WHAT HAPPENED: Three-point shooting wasn't any better on Friday. Boston shot just 4-for-16 on 3s, which included a horrendous second half in which they missed eight of nine.