The Celtics are getting into a regular-season mode. Center Kendrick Perkins was involved in his first contact practice of the preseason before the game, and the rest of the team's starters played much of the first half and into the second half of a 90-89 win over Houston in Manchester, N.H., Saturday night.
Gabe Pruitt banked in the deciding field goal with 6.6 seconds remaining and Darius Miles blocked Luis Scola's drive with 0.4 seconds remaining to preserve the lead. Scola's successful shot off an in-bounds play was ruled after the buzzer by lead official Scott Foster.
The Celtics' starters produced their longest stints of the preseason. Ray Allen played 24:58, Kevin Garnett 21:29, and Paul Pierce 21:42. The Celtics went with a double low post setup of Glen Davis and Patrick O'Bryant against Yao Ming, who had 16 points in 23 minutes. Davis (12 points, 6 rebounds) displayed his best performance of the preseason, combining well with the starters at the beginning of the second half as O'Bryant and Leon Powe were in foul trouble.
The Celtics, 2-1 in the preseason, meet Cleveland in Pittsburgh Tuesday.