Gabe Pruitt the Celtics from the point guard spot for 43 minutes in an 83-66 win over the New Jersey Nets Sunday at the TD Banknorth Garden.
Pruitt scored 11 points and had game-high totals of 12 rebounds, seven assists, and six turnovers.
“He understands what we needed from him,” Paul Pierce said of Pruitt. “He got guys set up in the right spots and he swung the ball, he was aggressive. But what I was most impressed about him was his defense. If he plays defense like that we may have something — he could solidify a backup role.”
Pruitt replaced Rajon Rondo (sprained ankle), who was held out for precautionary reasons, but is expected to return for the final preseason game at New York tomorrow.
“I think I showed I can play with the Big Three,” Pruitt said. “I can be on the floor if they need me. I can play solid and putting me on the floor won’t be a step back.”
Kendrick Perkins scored a preseason-high 18 points, converting 14 points on dunks and follow shots. The Nets (2-2), playing without Vince Carter, struggled offensively, converting only once from the field in the first 8:03 of the second half. The Celtics clinched the result with a 12-0 run for a 60-42 lead on Perkins’ free throw with 7:04 left in the third quarter.