Michael Beasley added two crucial free throws with less than 10 seconds to play, giving the Heat a lead they wouldn’t relinquish.
Neither team led by more than three points in overtime. Miami trailed 119-116 when Chris Anderson’s layup with 1:08 left in the extra period narrowed the gap to 119-118.
Kyle Korver and Paul Millsap both missed three-point attempts for the Hawks and on the ensuing Heat possession James got a pass to a driving Beasley who was fouled.
Beasley made both free throws to put the reigning NBA champion Heat ahead by one point.
Out of a timeout, Atlanta’s rookie big man Pero Antic inbounded from the left sideline and lobbed the ball to Korver who was denied at the rim. Anderson grabbed the rebound and was fouled, making one more free throw with three-tenths of a second left to account for the final margin.
Ray Allen, starting in place of injured Heat star Dwyane Wade, scored 19 points and calmly drained three free throws to knot the score at 111-111 with less than 10 seconds left in regulation, sending the game into overtime.
Anderson scored 12 points and Beasley added 10 for the Heat, who notched their fifth straight win.