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Pierce's Game-Tying Three Called Off, Hawks Advance to Conference Finals

Bruce Bennett/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Once again the game was close, and once again Paul Pierce hit a clutch shot, only this time it was just a little late.

With time running out, Pierce hit a corner 3-pointer in two players' faces while falling backwards, only to have it overturned by the referees when the review showed Pierce let go of the ball just after the clock hit zeros. It was a big call because it meant the Atlanta Hawks defeated the Washington Wizards 94-91 in Game 6 of their second-round playoff series, advancing them to the Eastern Conference finals.

Pierce probably wouldn't have even had a chance at shooting a game-tying 3-pointer if Al Horford hadn't missed one of his two free throws, failing to make it a two-possession game with 6.4 seconds left. That allowed the Wizards to call a timeout and inbound the pass on the Hawks' side of the court.

John Wall ended up with the ball but couldn't figure out what to do, so he shuffled it to Pierce in the corner, who stepped back and drilled the shot. Pierce put his hands up in celebration before the refs went to the replay screen and overturned the call.

Pierce had previously won Game 3 on a 21-foot buzzer-beater and gave the Wizards a one-point lead in Game 5 when he hit a 3-pointer with 8.4 seconds remaining.

The Hawks were led by DeMarre Carroll, who scored a career playoff high 25 points. They have won three straight to advance to their first conference final since the 1970-71 season.

Game 1 of the Eastern Conference final is Wednesday in Atlanta. The Hawks will take on LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers.

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