- Associated Press - Friday, May 15, 2015

Paul Pierce’s potential tying 3-pointer was released after the shot clock expired, giving the Atlanta Hawks a 94-91 victory over the Washington Wizards on Friday night and sending them to the Eastern Conference finals for the first time.

After Al Horford went 1-for-2 from the free-throw line for a three-point lead, the Wizards inbounded the ball with 6.4 seconds left. They got the ball to Pierce, who won Game 3 on a banked-in buzzer-beater, then put Washington briefly ahead late in Game 5 with another 3-pointer. This time, his 3-pointer from the corner swished through, but a replay review determined it was too late.

The Hawks held on thanks primarily to DeMarre Carroll’s playoff career-high 25 points, including two lay-ups in the last minute off assists from Jeff Teague.

Atlanta hosts LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers in Game 1 of the conference finals on Wednesday.

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