(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.
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