Heat outlast Hawks in OT thriller
Miami, FL (SportsNetwork.com) - LeBron James tallied 38 points, eight rebounds and six assists and Michael Beasley drained a pair of clutch free throws in his return to the court in the Miami Heat's thrilling 121-119 decision over the Atlanta Hawks from American Airlines Arena.
Neither team led by more than a possession in overtime and Miami trailed 119-116 with 1:08 left before Chris Andersen's layup cut its deficit to one. Kyle Korver and Paul Millsap, who combined to shoot 12-of-18 from behind the arc, each missed a 3-point attempt for Atlanta and on the ensuing Heat possession, James penetrated and dropped a pass off to a slashing Beasley, who drew a foul with 9.2 seconds remaining.
Beasley, who missed the last seven games with a hamstring injury, made both free throws to put the hosts in front by a point. Atlanta had one final look at the basket after Miami took a foul with 2.3 ticks remaining.
After burning its final timeout, rookie big man Pero Antic inbounded from the left sideline and lobbed the ball to the rim for a curling Korver, who caught the heave but failed to get his layup attempt over the rim. Anderson secured the rebound to seal the outcome for Miami.
"Obviously, going through what we experienced last year in the finals, we know its never over," said James. "We just keep fighting until the end, and we were able to force overtime."
Ray Allen, whose free throws forced the extra session, scored 19 points filling in for an injured Dwyane Wade. Anderson and Beasley netted 12 and 10 points, respectively, off the bench as the Heat won their fifth straight game.
Jeff Teague filled the stat sheet in the loss for Atlanta with 26 points, eight assists and six boards while Millsap finished with 25 points and 10 rebounds while sinking a career-high seven treys. Al Horford went for 21 points and 11 rebounds in the setback, and Korver made 5-of-8 from 3-point range to extend his streak of consecutive games with a 3 to 97 games.
"Our group competed tonight," said Atlanta head coach Mike Budenholzer. "Our group improved tonight. I'm proud of our group."
Late in regulation, Lou Williams' corner 3 broke a 99-all tie, and Millsap followed with a difficult layup in traffic for a five-point Atlanta margin. On Millsap's bucket, he drove into Chris Bosh, who took an elbow to the face on the collision. Bosh immediately went to the locker room and received eight stitches to his upper lip.
James then potted a pair of 3s around a Korver triple, and Williams sank two at the foul line for a 109-106 Hawks edge with 22.3 ticks remaining. The Heat opted to take a quick 2, as James drove and threw down a vicious slam over Millsap, but then it was Teague's turn to step to the charity stripe and sink a pair.
Out of a timeout, Miami ran a familiar play to get Ray Allen open in the corner. James found his shooter, who was fouled by a late-closing DeMarre Carroll. Allen made all three free throws, and Millsap was denied twice at the rim as the buzzer sounded.
Earlier, the Heat jumped out to a 13-0 lead but consecutive treys by Korver jumpstarted the Hawks offense. Miami's defense allowed a pair of uncontested Teague layups late in the first half as Atlanta took a 54-50 lead into the locker rooms.
Wade missed his seventh game this season with knee soreness and is considered day-to-day ... The Heat scored 33 points in the first quarter, giving them at least 30 first period points in four of the last six games ... This was Miami's last home game of 2013. Including playoffs, the Heat went 47-7 at home during the calendar year ... Shelvin Mack had seven assists off the bench for Atlanta ... The Hawks shot 50 percent (17-of-34 from behind the arc) ... Mario Chalmers scored 12 in the win.
12/24 00:43:07 ET