EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Tony Allen scored 32 points, 22 in the first half, to lead the NBA champion Boston Celtics to an 111-108 victory over the New Jersey Nets in an exhibition game Thursday night.
The Celtics (4-1) played without Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce and Ray Allen, all kept out of action by Doc Rivers as a coach's decision and not because of injury. Former Nets guard Sam Cassell also sat out.
It was the first preseason home game for the Nets (2-1) following victories over the Miami Heat in Paris and London.
The two teams traded the lead throughout the third quarter, but the Celtics, led by Gabe Pruitt, scored the final seven points of the quarter to take an 87-81 lead.
The Celtics then held the lead the rest of the way, with the teams playing reserve squads throughout the fourth quarter.
Former Nets guard Eddie House added 21 points for the Celtics.
Vince Carter scored 19 points to pace the Nets. Yi Jianlian had 15 points before fouling out in the third quarter, and Keyon Dooling, who had been battling a leg injury, scored 14 points in his first action with the Nets.
Yi, a 7-footer obtained from Milwaukee in a trade for Richard Jefferson, showed promise on offense, scoring his points in just 20 minutes of action. The 20-year-old from China said he was pleased that his teammates were trusting him to get the ball.
"Playing with a new team, I had to learn a new offense, so I knew it would take some time," Yi said. "Between practices and now two games, I'm getting better."
On the downside, he had four fouls in the first quarter alone.
"He has to learn to be aggressive with foul trouble," Nets coach Lawrence Frank said. "So in a game like this we left him out there to see how he could handle it. He had some good moments, but he needs to stay out there and be productive."