Al Horford snatched away an offensive rebound and dropped in the winning basket with 1.9 seconds left after Dennis Schroder's drive to the basket was blocked by John Wall, giving the top-seeded Atlanta Hawks an 82-81 victory over the Washington Wizards on Wednesday night in Atlanta and a 3-2 lead in the Eastern Conference semifinals.
Paul Pierce, who made a buzzer-beating winner in Game 3, appeared to have doomed the Hawks again when his three-pointer from the corner gave the Wizards an 81-80 lead with 8.3 seconds left. Wall, playing for the first time since Game 1 after fracturing several bones in his left hand, fell to the court in celebration. Pierce taunted the Hawks bench and home crowd on his way back down the court.
But Atlanta had one more chance.
Horford snatched the ball away from Nene, who tumbled to the court. Uncontested, the Hawks center put in the winner.
Houston 124, L.A. Clippers 103: James Harden had 26 points, 11 rebounds and 10 assists, Dwight Howard added 20 points and 15 rebounds, and the host Rockets bounced back from two lopsided losses to avoid elimination with a victory over the Clippers in the Western Conference semifinals.
The Rockets hadn't lost three straight all season, and with their season on the line they ended their skid to send it back to Los Angeles for Game 6 on Thursday night.
Houston used a 36-point second quarter to take a commanding lead and withstood a third-quarter surge by Los Angeles to lead by 14 entering the fourth.
Blake Griffin had 30 points and 16 rebounds, and Chris Paul added 22 points and 10 assists for the Clippers.
Harden made a three-pointer with about two minutes to play to make it 121-100 and coach Kevin McHale cleared the bench.
Trevor Ariza added 22 points for Houston and Corey Brewer had 15.
McHale toyed with the starting lineup after losses by 25 and 33 points, inserting Josh Smith in place of Terrence Jones. Smith finished with nine points and seven rebounds, while Jones provided a spark off the bench with 12 points.
Houston was up by 14 with nine minutes left when Smith scored five quick points, capped by a three-pointer, to make it 99-80. Smith, who joined the Rockets after being released by the Pistons, held out three fingers on each hand before beating his chest as fans rose to their feet.
•Bulls forward Pau Gasol plans to play in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference semifinal series against the Cavaliers on Thursday.
The five-time All-Star has missed the past two games because of a strained left hamstring. While coach Tom Thibodeau wouldn't say if he will play Thursday, Gasol later made it clear that he expects to be in uniform with Chicago down 3-2 and facing elimination at home.
"I'll be out there," he said.
•Police say Cavaliers forward Kendrick Perkins got into a verbal altercation with his wife on the side of a road in Westlake, Ohio. No one was injured or arrested. Police say information was handed over to the city prosecutor, who will determine if any charges will be filed.