(SportsNetwork.com) - The Washington Wizards will try for a 3-1 series lead over the top-seeded Atlanta Hawks Monday night when Game 4 takes place at the Verizon Center.
The Wizards moved ahead of the Hawks in the Eastern Conference semifinals with a 103-101 home victory on Saturday.
And it was an amazing victory at that.
The Wiz blew a 21-point fourth-quarter lead on Saturday, but Paul Pierce came to the rescue.
After Mike Muscala of all people tied it with a 3-pointer with 14.8 seconds left, the Wizards gave the ball to their future Hall of Famer out of a timeout.
Pierce held the ball for a few seconds after an inbounds pass and banked in his shot over Dennis Schroder and Kent Bazemore from just inside the 3-point line on the high left side.
The horn sounded, teammates mobbed Pierce and the Wizards are in the driver's seat.
Asked by ESPN's Chris Broussard if he called "bank," Pierce waited a few seconds and perfectly replied, "I called game."
"I've been in that situation many times," Pierce said. "If I miss, we don't want them to be able to call a timeout. So I took my time and got my shot. ... I'm just happy we won. We didn't want it to come down to that, especially how we played for the first 36 minutes, but a win is a win. We'll take it."
It was the second consecutive game Washington was without All-Star guard John Wall, who has five broken bones in his left hand and wrist after a Game 1 injury.
His hand in a splint, Wall was among the many Wizards piling on Pierce after the win.
The Wizards had no trouble spreading the ball around without their injured All-Star point guard, whose status for the rest of the series remains up in the air.
They had 27 assists on 37 baskets and got 17 points apiece from Bradley Beal, Otto Porter and Nene.
Jeff Teague had 18 points and fellow starters DeMarre Carroll and Al Horford scored 14 and 12 in that order, but the Hawks didn't look competitive until turning to their bench.
The reserves scored 33 of Atlanta's 35 points in the fourth quarter. Schroder finished with 18 in the game, Mike Scott scored eight and Muscala and Bazemore added seven each. Paul Millsap, a regular starter, came off the bench because he was feeling sick and scored eight points in 23 minutes.
"I'm very proud of that group, the way they competed and got us back in the game," said Hawks coach Mike Budenholzer. "There's a lot to look at in the first three quarters."
The Hawks showed some rust after three days off following their 106-90 win in Game 2 on Tuesday. They shot just 40 percent over the first three quarters, but Scott scored six points during the 17-0 run in the fourth and Schroder added five to get them within 94-91 with three minutes left, setting up the finish.
Muscala's 3-pointer was set up by Schroder, who scored 16 points in the quarter and was on the floor after slipping when he made the pass back to Muscala.
Then, Pierce buried the Hawks' amazing comeback hopes. His was the second of three last-second winners in the NBA this past weekend and the second bank shot. Chicago's Derrick Rose banked in the game-winner in Game 3 Friday, but LeBron James tied that series with a jumper as the horn sounded in Game 4.
The Hawks and Wizards return to Atlanta for Game 5 Wednesday night.