Kevin C. Cox
The Hawks and Wizards battled for four quarters, but it wasn't enough to separate the two and after regulation they were tied at 90. The Hawks were able to get the tight win on a deep three from Kyle Korver with 1.9 seconds to play, and the Wizards tip-in attempt at the end didn't count as came just after the buzzer.
The Hawks came out in the first quarter and played well early on. They jumped out to a 13-7 lead midway through the quarter behind strong performances from Josh Smith and Al Horford, but the Wizards refused to go away (a theme of the game). After the first quarter the Hawks were up 26-24, but the Wizards shot 62.5% from the field in the quarter to stay in the game.The second quarter was a better quarter for the Hawks defending shooters, as the Wizards shot 36% in the second, but the Wizards hung around thanks to seven offensive rebounds and six second-chance points. At that half the Hawks lead was 50-47.
Josh Smith had a big first half with 15 points, four rebounds, and three blocks and really set the tone for the Hawks. Al Horford added eight points, four boards, and four assists in the quarter as the Hawks shot 46.3% from the field, but were out-rebounded 26-18.
The third and fourth quarter were full of runs. The Hawks took an 11 point lead in the third, but the Wizards went on an 11-2 run to close the quarter and were down just 68-66 after three. The fourth saw both teams try to assert themselves, and the Wizards had a three point lead with 1:41 to play. A Teague lay-up made it a one-point game and after Nene split two free throws, the Hawks were down 90-88 with 5.4 seconds to play. Devin Harris got the ball off the inbound play and got fouled as he turned into the lane. Harris hit the pair, and the Wizards were unable to get a good look on the final possession, sending the game into overtime.
In the overtime period, the Wizards jumped out to a 98-94 lead, and after Josh Smith fouled out with 1:33 to play, it looked like all of the momentum had swung Washington's way. After a strong defensive possession, Jeff Teague hit a jumper to close the gap to just two with 56.4 seconds to play. After Horford missed a pair of free throws that would have tied the game (1-10 from the stripe on the night), the Wizards lost the ball out of bounds. Atlanta went right back to Horford on the inbound play and he made a tough layup to tie it at 98. After a Kevin Seraphin jump shot gave the Wizards a 100-98 lead with 7.3 seconds to play, the Hawks pushed the ball up the floor, and Kyle Korver curled off a screen on the left side elbow and hit a long three-pointer with 1.9 seconds to play to give Atlanta the lead. The Wizards missed their final shot, but a Martell Webster tip-in would have won the game for them. Initially ruled good, they over-ruled it (on the floor) as being late, and then confirmed that call via replay.
The Hawks were challenged throughout, but they survived Washington's runs, Al Horford's awful free throw shooting, and Josh Smith fouling out to get the win. Smith finished with 25 points and 12 boards, while Al finished just one board shy of a triple-double with 13 points, 10 assists, and nine rebounds. Kyle Korver was the hero with the late three (his 5th three of the game) and he finished with 16 points.