May 15, 2015

    Hawks rake Wizards with Horford's last-minute swoop


    AL HORFORD'S put-back layup with 1.9sec left lifted the Atlanta Hawks to an 82-81 victory over the Washington Wizards on Wednesday, and within one win of advancing in the National Basketball Association (NBA) play-offs.

    The Hawks, the top seeds in the Eastern Conference, now lead the best-of-seven second-round series 3-2.

    The Wizards will try to stay alive when they host Game 6 in Washington today.

    Western Conference top seeds Golden State Warriors also moved within one win of advancing, taking a 3-2 series lead over the Memphis Grizzlies with a 98-78 romp in Oakland, California.

    NBA Most Valuable Player Stephen Curry drained six of the Warriors' 14 three-pointers, following up his outstanding Game 4 performance with another stellar display that included 18 points, along with seven rebounds and five assists.

    Klay Thompson scored 21 points for the Warriors, who will try to wrap up the series today in Memphis.

    "This is big," said Curry, whose Warriors had pulled level in the series with a Game 4 win. "We wanted to capitalise on the momentum we got in Game 4."

    It came down to the wire in Atlanta, where the Hawks and Wizards were tied with less than 30 seconds remaining.

    Paul Pierce, whose buzzer-beating jump shot gave Washington a win in Game 3, tried to drive to the basket but saw the ball poked away by Atlanta's Kyle Korver.

    That set up a breakaway for the Hawks, with Horford and DeMarre Carroll exchanging three passes before Carroll's layup gave Atlanta an 80-78 lead.

    Pierce responded. Out of a timeout, Bradley Beal drove baseline and tossed the ball to an open Pierce, who drained a three-pointer from the corner that put Washington ahead.

    With the game on the line, Atlanta went to 21-year-old back-up point guard Dennis Schroder, who drove right for a layup that bounced off the backboard.

    Horford timed his jump perfectly, securing the loose ball and landing before firing up the game winner.

    "A heck of a play by Al," Atlanta coach Mike Budenholzer said. "He went and got it, found a way to put it back in."

    The two teams combined for 44 turnovers and 9-for-39 shooting from three-point range in the lowest-scoring game so far this post-season.