Horford game-winner helps Hawks swoop ahead of Wizards

Wed May 13, 2015 11:24pm EDT
 
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(The Sports Xchange) - Atlanta forward Al Horford fought off several Washington Wizards defenders to snatch an offensive rebound and scored on a put-back with one second remaining to give the Hawks a vital 82-81 win at Philips Arena on Wednesday.

The victory moves Atlanta 3-2 ahead in the best-of-seven Easter Conference semi-finals with Game Six back in Washington on Friday. Game Seven, if necessary, would be played in Atlanta on Monday.

In a back-and-forth thriller, Washington forward Paul Pierce hit a go-ahead three-pointer with 8.2 seconds to play. Nicknamed the Truth, Pierce already beat Atlanta with a last-second basket in Game Two and looked to have repeated the feat.

However, Horford flew in to follow a missed shot by backup point guard Dennis Schroder and hit a game-winner that will be remembered in Atlanta for some time.

Horford finished with 23 points, 11 rebounds and five blocks to help the Hawks spoil the return of Wizards point guard John Wall.

Wall, who missed the previous three games with an injured wrist, made a surprise return and played well. He scored 15 points and dished out seven assists in 37 minutes, though he also committed six turnovers.

Guard Bradley Beal had 23 points and seven rebounds for the Wizards, who absorbed their first loss of the post-season with Wall in the lineup.

(Editing by Cameron French/John O'Brien)

 
Washington Wizards forward Otto Porter Jr. (22) and Atlanta Hawks center Al Horford (15) fight for a loose ball during the first half in game five of the second round of the NBA Playoffs at Philips Arena. Mandatory Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports