MIAMI — Tyler Johnson scored 24 points, including the game’s final four from the foul line, and the Miami Heat remained alive in the postseason chase by rallying to beat the Cleveland Cavaliers 124-121 on Monday night.
Hassan Whiteside scored 23 points and grabbed 18 rebounds for Miami, which would have been eliminated with a loss. Josh Richardson scored 19 points, James Johnson had 16 and Goran Dragic added 15.
Deron Williams had a season-high 35 points, along with nine assists and seven rebounds for the Cavaliers, who fell to 0-7 this season when LeBron James doesn’t play.
The Cavs were also without Kyrie Irving and Tristan Thompson, and fell a game behind Boston in the race for No. 1 in the Eastern Conference. Kevin Love scored 25 points, Channing Frye had 21 and Kyle Korver had 18.
Miami survived despite Cleveland getting two four-point plays in overtime, including one by Williams with 34 seconds left that put the Heat on the brink. But Johnson scored the last four points, and Miami stayed in the No. 9 spot in the East.
No. 7 Indiana and No. 8 Chicago both won earlier Monday, and would have clinched playoff trips with a Heat loss.
Instead, it’s on to Game No. 82 on Wednesday night to decide it all.
Cleveland’s lead was as many as 15, and was still 14 late in the third quarter after a 3-pointer by Frye. Williams connected on another 3 with 2.1 seconds left in the period, and the Cavaliers took an 81-70 lead into the fourth.
In just over three minutes, the lead was gone.
The Cavs wasted a 26-point lead going into the fourth at Atlanta on Sunday, and an 11-pointer in the final 12 minutes of regulation of this one.
James Johnson had seven quick points to start Miami’s rally, Tyler Johnson’s 3-pointer tied the game at 95, and Wayne Ellington connected on a pair of 3s to push Miami’s lead out to 106-99.
Cleveland scored the next nine points, going back on top when Love put back his own miss for a 108-106 lead with 1:40 remaining. Dragic tied it for the Heat with a long jumper, Miami got a stop on the final Cleveland possession and to overtime they went.
Cavaliers: If history holds, James won’t play Wednesday. He hasn’t appeared in a regular-season finale since 2007. … Thompson and Irving were on the floor working out pregame. Thompson missed his fourth straight game with a sprained right thumb. … G Kay Felder (left lower leg) was injured in the third quarter and did not return. … Williams’ high with the Cavs was 19, until Monday. He had 20 by the midpoint of the third quarter.
Heat: Dion Waiters (ankle) was listed as questionable, but missed his 12th consecutive game. The Heat are 27-19 with him and now 12-23 without him. … Ellington connected from midcourt just after the third-quarter buzzer. It would have gotten Miami within eight going into the fourth.
Chris “Birdman” Andersen, who played for both Cleveland and Miami in his career, was in a baseline seat opposite the Heat bench. Andersen won a title in Miami in 2013. He appeared in 12 games with the Cavs this season before being sidelined by a knee injury.
The league’s Last Two Minute Report of Sunday’s Cleveland-Atlanta game showed three calls late in regulation and overtime that negatively impacted the Cavs’ chances in what became a 126-125 loss. “It’s too late now. It’s over,” Cavs coach Tyronn Lue said. “Can they give us the game back? Well, we don’t need to talk about it then. If they can’t give us the game back, it doesn’t matter.”
Cavaliers: Host Toronto on Wednesday, the last tune-up before the playoffs start.
Heat: Host Washington on Wednesday, looking to go 4-0 against the Wizards this season.