May 10, 2015 / 1:33 AM / 4 years ago

Pierce buzzer-beater lifts Wizards past Hawks

(The Sports Xchange) - Forward Paul Pierce banked in the winning jumper at the buzzer as the short-handed Washington Wizards beat the Atlanta Hawks 103-101 in Game Three of their Eastern Conference semi-final playoff series on Saturday.

May 9, 2015; Washington, DC, USA; Washington Wizards forward Paul Pierce (34) drives to the basket past Atlanta Hawks forward DeMarre Carroll (5) in the third quarter in game three of the second round of the NBA Playoffs. at Verizon Center. The Wizards won 103-101. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Guard Bradley Beal and forwards Nene and Otto Porter each scored 17 points as the Wizards survived a furious comeback by the Hawks and took a 2-1 lead in the best-of-seven series against the top seed in the East.

Game Four is in Washington on Monday.

Washington played its second straight game without injured All-Star guard John Wall and won at home despite blowing a 21-point fourth-quarter lead.

Sparked by its second unit, Atlanta stormed back with a 21-3 run, including 17 straight points, to get within three points with 3:12 remaining.

Forward Mike Muscala’s three-pointer tied the score with 14.1 seconds.

Pierce, defended by Hawks guard Dennis Schroder, hit a step-back jumper just inside the three-point arc as the buzzer sounded. He finished with 13 points.

Even without Wall, who suffered five non-displaced fractures in his left wrist and hand in Game One, Washington led comfortably throughout and was up 91-70 with 9:54 remaining.

Schroder and guard Jeff Teague each scored 18 points for the Hawks, who trailed by double digits for most of the game.

Forward DeMarre Carroll scored 14 points, snapping a streak of six games with at least 20. Atlanta forward Paul Millsap (flu-like symptoms) came off the bench and had eight points.

Forward Kyle Korver, the only starter to play during the final minutes, had six points.

Editing by Andrew Both

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