Celtics in late NBA surge

The Indiana Pacers have put together a late-season surge to get into the Eastern Conference playoff picture.


The Boston Celtics look like they are doing the same thing.

Tyler Zeller scored 18 points to lead a balanced attack on Saturday night and the visiting Celtics made all the hustle plays down the stretch of a hard-fought 93-89 victory over the Pacers, who had their seven-game winning streak snapped.

“We’re having a lot of fun,” Zeller said. “We believe in ourselves.

“In the beginning of the year we lost a lot of these games.”

Avery Bradley, Brandon Bass and Jae Crowder added 16 points apiece for Boston (29-36), who have won a season-high four in a row to move within one-half game of Charlotte (29-35) for the final playoff spot in the East.

“These are the kind of games that I’ve always loved – just find a way,” Celtics coach Brad Stevens said.

George Hill scored a season-high 30 points with eight assists for Indiana (30-35), who have been the hottest team in the NBA.

The Pacers were 12th in the East six weeks ago but won 13 of their next 15 games to climb to seventh.

The Celtics have made a similar ascent.

They have shuffled players all season and were 12th three weeks ago but have won nine of 12 and are now tied for ninth with Miami.

“It’s amazing (how) he’s got them playing as well as they are with so much turnover,” Pacers coach Frank Vogel said.

Elsewhere Golden State thrashed New York Knicks 125-94 as Klay Thompson scored 27 points and Stephen Curry added 25 and 11 assists for the league-leading Warriors, who have seven straight home games.

Italy’s Andrea Bargnani scored 18 points for the league-worst Knicks, who have lost six of seven.

The Washington Wizards enjoyed a 113-97 victory over the Sacramento Kings off the back of John Wall’s 31 points and 12 assists as the Wizards roared back from a 21-point deficit for their third straight win.

DeMarcus Cousins scored 30 points for the Kings.

Dante Exum had eight points as the Utah Jazz edged Detroit Pistons 88-85.

Memphis Grizzlies and Brooklyn Nets also enjoyed wins.