Once again, Paul Pierce had delivered at the optimal moment, as his step-back 3-pointer appeared to tie the game at 94, briefly extending the season into overtime for the Wizards.
Atlanta was deflated, as it blew a 10 point advantage with nine minutes remaining.
Closing out a game has been an issue throughout the post season for the Hawks, but Friday proved to be different.
The shot swished through the net, but the officials needed to review the play to ensure when the ball was released.
Pierce failed to release the ball prior to the final buzzer sounding, clinching a 94-91 victory for the Hawks, helping them advance to the Eastern Conference finals for the first time since 1971.
The shot marked the third time Pierce buried a critical shot, as he clinched a victory in Game 3, with a bank shot.
With nine seconds remaining in Wednesday’s Game 5, Pierce buried a 3-pointer and called series, believing he had given his team a 3-2 advantage with his jumper.
Al Horford grabbed an offensive rebound on the next possession and gently placed the ball through the net, giving the Hawks a 3-2 series lead.
To advance to the third round of the playoffs, the Hawks used a complete team effort, overcoming a rare off night from All-Star forward Kyle Korver.
The regular season leader in 3-point shooting percentage, as Korver knocked down 49.2 percent of his attempts from beyond the arc, missed each of his first seven shots from downtown as he managed just two points.
Korver has struggled throughout the series, as he averaged seven points on 31.3 percent shooting from the field. During each game of the series, his scoring effort dwindled, so much that he missed his only free throw attempt of the series Friday night, a rarity for the career 88.1 percent shooter at the foul line.
While Korver has struggled to find his shot, he has emerged as a legitimate shot blocker, turning back 15 shots during a 12 game span. Three players are averaging over a block per game for Atlanta since the playoffs began.
The Hawks, a team that sent four players to the Eastern Conference All-Star team and boasts the Coach of the Year in Mike Budenholzer, once again used a complete team effort to secure a victory, as three players scored 20 or more points in the series finale.
Since the start of the post season, four players are averaging more than 15 points per game and six different players have led the team in scoring during its first 12 games of the playoffs.
In his absence of Korver, DeMarre Carroll continued his surprising playoff run, pouring in a team-high 25 points on 9-of-14 shooting from the field.
Carroll even made three shots from 3-point range, helping provide enough floor space for Paul Millsap to operate in the post.
Through the first two rounds of the playoffs, Carroll has emerged as the leading scorer for the Hawks, averaging 17.1 points and has become the most reliable long range shooting option for Atlanta, converting 43.9 percent of his attempts from beyond the arc, nearly nine percent higher than Korver’s average.
The scoring bump from Carroll comes at a perfect time, as he is set to become an unrestricted free agent this summer.
The 28-year-old has scored 20 or more points in seven of his 12 post season games.
With Carroll delivering on the perimeter, Millsap was able to control the paint, scoring 20 points and grabbing a game-high 13 rebounds.
The individual efforts from the Hawks weren’t enough to shake Washington, as it poured in 27 points in the fourth quarter.
Thirteen of those points came from Bradley Beal as he continued his stellar playoff run.
Beal posted a game-high 29 points, upping his average to 23.4 points per game during the 2015 playoffs.
Horford had a chance to seal the game, but split a pair of free throws with six seconds remaining, providing just enough time for Pierce to try and add to his post season heroics.
Pierce let the shot fly and it fell through the net, but it came just tenths of a second too late.
Once the shot was waived off, the Hawks were left standing.