INDIANAPOLIS — For Washington, Indiana, native Tyler Zeller, former Ohio State forward Evan Turner and Boston Celtics’ head coach Brad Stevens, there certainly is a level of comfort playing in Indianapolis and in Bankers Life Fieldhouse.
Zeller won two Indiana high school state championship games in Bankers Life Fieldhouse. Turner won the 2010 Big Ten Conference tournament championship in Bankers Life Fieldhouse. And Stevens led Butler — based several miles north of Bankers Life Fieldhouse — to a pair of NCAA championship game appearances.
On Saturday night, Boston center Zeller had 18 points and seven rebounds, Turner had seven rebounds and seven assists, and Stevens pushed all the right buttons in the Celtics’ 93-89 victory against the Indiana Pacers in Bankers Life Fieldhouse.
“I thought we did a good job of keeping them out of transition,” Zeller said of the key to victory. “They have been playing well of late and scoring more than this. We were able to get back and set our defense, and when we do that, we are tough to score on.
“Coach does a great job of preparing us, giving us the information that we need to go out and execute.”
The victory is the fourth straight for the Celtics (29-36), who also got 16 points each from forward Brandon Bass, forward Jae Crowder and guard Avery Bradley. Bass sank two free throws with 5.3 seconds left to ice it.
Boston, which beat Orlando on Friday night, now is 9-5 in the second of back to back games and has won seven of its last eight on the second night.
The Celtics non-starters outscored Indiana’s 31-30, pushing the Pacers to 3-14 when their bench is outscored.
Guard George Hill led Indiana (30-35) with a season-high 30 points to go with five rebounds and eight assists. The Pacers, who got 13 points from guard C.J. Miles and 12 each from guards Rodney Stuckey and C.J. Watson, had a season-best seven-game winning streak snapped.
Boston outrebounded Indiana 47-42 and outscored the Pacers 15-12 at the free-throw line.
“Our defensive effort was pretty good,” Stevens said. “These low scoring games are the ones I always have loved. I thought Tyler really played well against Roy Hibbert. We tried to use Tyler’s skills against him. We wanted to space him out a little. I thought Tyler played well on both ends against him.”
Hibbert finished with only five points and seven rebounds.
Boston led 80-68 before a 3-pointer from Watson and a Hill basket sliced the Celtics’ advantage to 80-73 with 5:43 remaining, prompting a Boston timeout. Another Watson 3-pointer cut the deficit to 80-76. But back-to-back field goals from Zeller gave the Celtics an 84-76 lead with 2:06 to play, and the Pacers never regained the lead.
“Boston played great defense,” Indiana coach Frank Vogel said. “We tried to show our guys a lot of video today on their ball pressure. We didn’t handle it very well. Our bench has been playing out of this world, and while they weren’t terrible, they weren’t at the level they were the last few games. It was one of those games where a lot of things went their way.”
Indiana scored the third quarter’s first five points to pull to within 45-42, but the consistent Celtics never surrendered the lead during the period and held a 67-60 advantage with 12 minutes to play.
Bass had eight third-quarter points and Bradley added seven for the Celtics, who outrebounded Indiana 12-7 in the period. Hill had 11 in the quarter for Indiana.
“The Celtics play hard,” Indianapolis native Hill said. “Coach Stevens got them in their defensive plan. They play extremely hard, and they make it tough for us on the offensive end. We did a good job of fighting back, but it wasn’t enough.”
Taking advantage of five second-quarter turnovers, the Celtics outscored the Pacers 25-19 and led 45-37 through the first 24 minutes.
A 3-pointer from guard Marcus Smart gave Boston a 39-26 advantage with 3:51 left in the second quarter before the Pacers closed the period on an 11-6 run to get to within eight at intermission.
Zeller made all six of his first-half shots for the Celtics and led all scorers at halftime with 12 points. Crowder added nine for Boston.
Miles had 10 first-half points to lead Indiana, and forward David West, Stuckey and Hill each added six.
Boston made 19 of 46 first-half shots (41.3 percent), and Indiana made 15 of 41 (36.6 percent). The Celtics had 25 first-half rebounds, one more than Indiana.