Paul Pierce hit the game-winner to give the Wizards a critical Game 3 win over the Hawks, but it really shouldn’t have come to that.
Even without John Wall, Washington dominated from the opening tip, and led by as many as 21 points with just under 10 minutes to play.
The Hawks, however — specifically the team’s bench unit — refused to quit fighting.
A 21-3 fourth quarter run had Atlanta back within striking distance, and a three-pointer from Mike Muscala had the game all tied up with 14 seconds left.
But Pierce made sure that the afternoon’s work wouldn’t go to waste. His step-back jumper banked home, and sealed the 103-101 victory the Wizards earned by the way they played for most of the contest.
The best part of Pierce’s game-winner might have been his postgame reaction.
When asked if he called bank — a common question when a shot drops home off the glass — Pierce’s response was priceless.
“I called GAME,” he said.