Sunday, May 17, 2015

Paul Pierce Drains the Three a Fraction of a Second Too Late

Washington Post:
The Washington Wizards watched their season come to an end in the most devastating of ways against the Atlanta Hawks on Friday night. So instead of a Game 7 in Atlanta, they will meet as a team and address the media for the final time Monday at Verizon Center before going their separate ways for the summer.

Game 1: May 3, 2015 at Philips Arena: Wizards, 104-98
The Wizards overcame injury scares to John Wall and Bradley Beal to preserve their perfect playoff record through five games. Wall injured his left wrist near the end of the second quarter but stayed in the game but Beal was forced to watch the final seconds from the bench after spraining his ankle. The Hawks jumped out to a torrid start, posting a 37-point first quarter but managed just 35 points in the entire second half, perhaps due to fatigue after finishing their first-round series with the Brooklyn Nets just 38 hours earlier and blew a halftime at home for the first time all season.

Game 2: May 5, 2015 at Philips Arena: Hawks, 106-90
Wall had expected to play after initial X-rays didn’t reveal any structural damage in his left wrist or hand, but the swelling and pain were too severe to play. The Wizards didn’t wilt without their all-star point guard, but ran out of gas in the fourth quarter. Up seven points with under three minutes remaining, the Hawks put Washington away with an 11-2 run.

Game 3: May 9, 2015 at Verizon Center: Wizards, 103-101
The Wizards built a 21-point fourth-quarter lead without Wall, only to have the gap disappear. The Hawks stormed back with a 17-0 run with a lineup of reserves and Mike Muscala’s three-pointer with 14.1 seconds remaining tied the game to complete the comeback. But Paul Pierce came to the rescue, banking in a 20-foot jumper at the buzzer to avoid the collapse.

Game 4: May 11, 2015 at Verizon Center: Hawks, 106-101
The Wizards trailed by seven points with 1:12 remaining, but stormed back and got the ball in Pierce’s hands with a chance to tie the game. But Pierce missed an open three-pointer from a few feet beyond the arc with 6.9 seconds left and Millsap’s free throws at the other end clinched the Hawks’ win.

Game 5: May 13, 2015 at Philips Arena: Hawks, 82-81
The Wizards got a lift from Wall in his return just 10 days after sustaining his five fractures and led by nine points with 6:15 remaining in the game. But the Hawks responded with a 14-0 run to set the stage for a thrilling finish. First, Pierce drained a corner three-pointer to give the Wizards a one-point lead with 8.3 seconds on the clock, yelling “series” at the Hawks bench as he jogged back to the other end. Wall then swatted Schroder’s runner but Horford sprinted to the rebound unchecked, barreling over Nene to retrieve the offensive rebound for the game-winning lay-in.

Game 6: May 15, 2015 at Verizon Center: Hawks, 94-91
Down 15 points in the third quarter and nine points with 6:39 left in the fourth period, the Wizards mustered a 9-0 run to take their first lead since the second quarter. But they blew opportunities to widen the gap over the next three possessions — Nene missed two free throws, the Wizards had a shot-clock violation, and Pierce missed a three-pointer before Millsap halted a Hawks scoring drought of nearly five minutes. The Hawks eventually took a four-point lead with 30.9 seconds remaining but the Wizards had a chance to tie it at the end. Trailing by three points, Pierce appeared to make a game-tying three-pointer at the buzzer but the shot was released a fraction of a second after the horn sounded and overturned upon further review. It was the fourth straight game in which Pierce took a go-ahead or game-tying shot with under 10 seconds remaining. He made three but the Wizards won just once.


More information:
» Washington Post: "A look into the Wizards’ losses in home elimination games"

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