Celtics cool off Pacers

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INDIANAPOLIS: Tyler Zeller had 18 points and seven rebounds on Saturday (Sunday in Manila) as the Boston Celtics ended Indiana’s seven-game NBA winning streak with a 93-89 victory over the Pacers.

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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.

Meanwhile, Portland Trail Blazers center Joel Freeland of England and Detroit Pistons forward Shawne Williams were suspended one game without pay by the NBA for exchanging head-butts.

The incident came with 75 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter of Portland’s 118-99 victory over the visiting Pistons on Friday.

Mike Scott, a key reserve power forward for the NBA Eastern Conference-leading Atlanta Hawks, will be sidelined indefinitely with a fractured big left toe, the team said.

AFP

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