The Atlanta Hawks looked dead in the water late in the fourth quarter. They were chucking up 3-pointers and ill advised jumpers and were making the extra pass instead of invading the paint. But Josh Smith got things rolling with a nasty tomahawk jam to give Atlanta a spark before Jamal Crawford took care of business in the extra session.
Crawford posted five of his 19 points in overtime, including a big 3-pointer in the extra session, leading the Hawks to a 93-89 win over the Miami Heat on Tuesday night at the AmericanAirlines Arena.
Joe Johnson also had 19 for Atlanta (28-15), which won despite not having the services of Al Horford for most of the second half.
"I thought we just hung in there," coach Larry Drew told the team's television broadcast afterward. "We lost Al. But our guys persevered through the fourth quarter to take it to overtime. It was just a great win for our team."
The Hawks and the Heat (30-13) stayed within three points for most of the extra session before Eddie House tied it at 84 with a layup with 1:33 left.
Joe Johnson inexplicably got loose on the ensuing possession and as every Heat eye was keyed in on Atlanta's All-Star as he drove the lane, he dished it to a wide-open Crawford by the Atlanta bench. Crawford, the reigning NBA Sixth Man of the Year drained the uncontested 3-pointer from the wing to put the Hawks up by three.
James and Johnson traded buckets before James tied it once at 89 again with a 3-pointer with 51.9 seconds left. But Smith drove the lane on Johnson's 10th assist with 34.7 left to give Atlanta a 91-89 lead. Johnson drained two free throws with 5.2 seconds left to seal the win for the Hawks.
King James withered down the stretch, launching a pair of wild 3-point shots that had absolutely zero chance of finding the net. Although he finished with a game-high 34 points, he was just 11-for-30 from the field.
The Hawks on the other hand launched 31 shots from behind the arc, the most since 1997 vs. the New Jersey Nets. Seven went through the twine.
"We showed a lot of heart and determination in this game tonight," Johnson told SportSouth. "We were off a back-to-back. We knew it was going to be tough."
In part because of all of the ill-advised threes, the Hawks made this one harder on themselves than they had to. Atlanta almost didn't make it to overtime.
With Horford hobbled by a right ankle injury for most of the last 29 minutes of the basketball game, Atlanta was forced to go small. They struggled with the Heat's defensive rotation and looked lost. They seemed to lack the ability to finish plays. With the lane to the basket severed, they settled for jump shots instead as Miami took a 70-64 lead on a jumper by Dwyane Wade with 4:26 left.
That all changed in a hurry. LeBron James missed a jumper, before Smith and Bibby ran down the court. Bibby fed Smith in transition, who just abused Joel Anthony in the lane, posting the authoritative tomahawk jam and was fouled to cut the lead to 70-67 with the ensuing free throw with 3:07 left.
"We were really struggling for a stretch there," Drew said. "We needed something to energize us. Josh got on the break and finished with the dunk. That gave us a little life. We needed something to spark us at that time and Josh came up with a big play."
Atlanta ground its way back into this one, tying it at 77 on Johnson's jumper with :25.4 ticks left before James missed on a wild three to send it to OT.
Wade added 27 for Miami as the dynamic duo of Wade and James combined for 50 of the team's 77 field goal attempts.
Horford wasn't the only player to miss this one. Marvin Williams remains sidelined with a back injury and the Heat sat Chris Bosh with an ankle injury. It was the first game back after missing a pair for James, who sat out with an ankle injury.
The good news for Atlanta is that the Horford injury does not appear serious. According to the team's TV broadcast, the injured ankle was not wrapped after the game. Barring a setback he should play on Friday night against the New Orleans Hornets.
Atlanta moved to within two games of Miami in the NBA Southeast Division with the win. Miami has lost a season-high four straight games.