ATLANTA -- John Wall threw himself on the floor with 32.6 seconds left, and the score tied at 78, for a loose ball, corralled it and called a timeout. He slapped the floor repeatedly with his good hand, the right one, as he sensed a Game 5 victory was near Wednesday.
But a 3-2 series lead for the Wizards is oh-so-far away. Wall blocked Dennis Schroder's shot on the final play as he drove to the basket, but Al Horford darted in like a bowling ball to send bodies scattering to grab the loose ball for the putback with two seconds left and an 82-81 victory for the Atlanta Hawks at Phillips Arena.
"It felt great. I didn't have any problems with my hand," Wall said after having 15 points, seven assists, four rebounds and four steals. "I was able to play aggressive and make plays so I was fine."
Wall, who was a game-time decision until about 50 minutes before tipoff, started and played for the first time since Game 1 when he fell on his left arm for a series-changing broken left hand and wrist. He has five non-displaced fractures which usually take up to six weeks to heal and don't require surgery.
Wall scored 11 points in the first half as the Wizards went on a 24-8 run to lead 46-41 at halftime. They had a double-digit lead in the third quarter and had multiple chances to put away the Hawks and win here for the second time. But it wasn't meant to be, even after they erased a 78-73 deficit with 2:29 left.
Wall took a charge from center Mike Muscala earlier in the game. He chased down Schroder to block him in transition with his right hand in the fourth.
"I thought he was great considering everything," Wizards coach Randy Wittman said. "I don't think he played tentatively at all. I never saw him wince or anything bother him, so that's good. He played like John -- all out. He made a heck of a block on the last play of the game on Schroder at the rim. He had another one in the fourth quarter. I'm just glad to see he kept his left wrist up when he hit the ground."
Bradley Beal had a game-high 23 points for Washington, and the the only other guard off the bench, Ramon Sessions, went 0-for-4 and didn't score.
"You kind of cringed every time you saw him make a move to the basket and he'd fall," Beal said. "But he's a soldier. He's going to continue to lead us."
For the Wizards to win this series, however, that will require leading them back here for Game 7.
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