Tyler Zeller had 18 points and seven rebounds Saturday as the Boston Celtics ended Indiana’s seven-game NBA winning streak with a 93-89 victory over the Pacers.
Avery Bradley, Jae Crowder and Brandon Bass added 16 points apiece for the Celtics, who have won four in a row and six of their last seven games.
Boston are now tied for ninth place in the Eastern Conference, a half-game behind Charlotte for the eighth and final playoff spot, while the Pacers are seventh in the East.
“Every game is pretty big for us,” Bradley said. “We knew we needed to come out and execute our game plan at both ends of the floor. I felt like we did a great job. At the beginning of the game we weren’t able to make shots, but we were able to get stops.”
George Hill scored a season-high 30 points for the Pacers and handed out eight assists.
But Boston never trailed in the second half, turning back every Pacers challenge.
The Celtics led 45-37 at halftime, but Hill scored the final six points of an 11-4 run to begin the third, including a driving layup to cap the surge that put the Pacers within one at 49-48.
Boston responded by scoring five straight points to stretch the lead to six.
Rodney Stuckey’s three-pointer again trimmed the gap with 4:03 left in the third, but the Celtics rebuilt the cushion with an 8-2 scoring run.
The Pacers pulled within 91-89 with 5.8 seconds to play, but Bass sealed the outcome with two free throws. – Agence France-Presse