Washington Wizards’ Paul Pierce, right, watches as his three-point shot goes in against Atlanta Hawks’ Paul Millsap as the Wizards take the lead in the final seconds of Game 5 of the second round of the NBA basketball playoffs Wednesday, May 13, 2015, in Atlanta. On the next play the Hawks’ Al Horford snatched away an offensive rebound and dropped in the winning basket with 1.9 seconds left giving the Hawks an 82-81 victory and a 3-2 lead in the Eastern Conference semifinals. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)
Center Al Horford scored a game-high 23 points, including the game-winning layup to push the Atlanta Hawks to a 82-81 victory over the Washington Wizards in Game Five of the Eastern Conference semifinals on May 13 in Atlanta, Ga. The win gives the Hawks a 3-2 lead over Washington in the best of seven series.
Washington Wizards’ John Wall, left, dribbles past Atlanta Hawks’ Jeff Teague, right, in the third quarter of Game 5 of the second round of the NBA basketball playoffs Wednesday, May 13, 2015, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)
Washington led Atlanta, 81-80 with eight seconds left in the game after Wizards veteran forward Paul Pierce nailed a clutch three-pointer. But eight seconds was just enough time for Atlanta to set up a play to retake the lead for the win. The play was designed for Hawks guard Dennis Schroeder to drive to the basket for a layup, but Schroeder missed. The rebound appeared to be landing right into the hands of Wizards forward Nene Hilario, which would have clinched the win for Washington. Instead, Horford leaped out of nowhere and stripped the rebound away from Nene before quickly laying the shot up for the game-deciding two points.
Along with 23 points, Horford also finished with a team-high 11 rebounds and five blocks. Forward Paul Milsap and guard Jeff Teague were the only other Hawks players to score double digits, both scoring 14 points apiece.
Wizards guard John Wall made his return after missing Games Two, Three and Four of the series due to a hand injury. His impact was felt as he scored 15 points with seven assists and four steals. Guard Brad Beal led Washington with 23 points, along with seven rebounds.
Next – Washington will try to avoid elimination when they host the Hawks in Game Six on Friday, May 15 at the Verizon Center in D.C. Tip off set for 7 p.m.