BOSTON — The Boston Celtics just needed a little reminder to focus on playing instead of worrying about where they were in the Eastern Conference playoff chase.

A loss on Sunday was perfect for that.

Isaiah Thomas scored 25 points, Avery Bradley had 18 with eight rebounds and the Celtics beat the Indiana Pacers 109-100 on Wednesday night for their fifth win in six games.

The only loss came on the road against a weaker Philadelphia team.

“I think last week all we did was look at the standings,” Bradley said. “We were losing games. We weren’t focused. We came together as a group and we were like: ‘We can’t worry about where we are. Let’s worry about (that) when the time is right.”’

The Celtics remained 2 1/2 games ahead of Washington for second place in the East. They entered the day two behind top-seeded Cleveland.

Al Horford added 15 points with eight boards and eight assists, and Jae Crowder also scored 15 points for Boston, which won for the 12th time in 13 home games.

Paul George led the Pacers with 37 points and Jeff Teague had 25. Indiana has alternated by winning and losing in its last 15 games.

The Celtics turned a red-hot shooting third quarter into 39 points, pushing a seven-point halftime lead to 14 after three quarters.

“We expected this team to come out the second half more aggressive and raise their play,” Pacers coach Nate McMillan said. “We needed to do the same thing. We just weren’t able to do it.”

Boston hit 17 of 25 shots from the field, with Marcus Smart’s last-second bank shot in the lane capping the shooting. He was fouled on the play and made the free throw, giving the Celtics an 88-74 lead entering the final quarter.

“I thought the end of the third, early fourth, some of our ball movement possessions were about as good as we’ve had in a while,” Boston coach Brad Stevens said.

Thomas hit two 3-pointers and scored 11 points in the third.

George kept the Pacers in the game, though, scoring 14 in the quarter.

“They started getting away from us and I tried to keep the game as close as possible,” he said.

Trailing by 17 early in the fourth, the Pacers went on a 13-2 run to slice it to 95-89 on Teague’s 3-pointer.

Thomas then sandwiched a couple of breakaway layups around a turnaround by Horford to seal it.

NOTES: Boston Coach Brad Stevens said he enjoyed having his team healthy and playing games with breaks in between. “It’s good to play a game, take a day off and play another game, and still have the same amount of bodies,” he said. “It’s pretty unique.” … With the Pacers in the midst of a tight race for a while for one of the East’s last few playoff spots, Coach Nate McMillan said facing playoff-type games the final couple of weeks will be nothing new. “That mindset really started or should have started after the (All-Star) break,” he said.