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Thursday, Jan. 20, 2011

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Trapped: Bulls forward Luol Deng is caught between Bobcats defenders Stephen Jackson, left, and Gerald Wallace on Tuesday in Chicago. AP PHOTO

Hawks hang on to cool off Heat

MIAMI (AP) Close games have been a strength for Atlanta, a weakness for Miami.

The Hawks couldn't have been happier to see those trends continue.

And suddenly, the Southeast Division looks very much like a three-team race.

Josh Smith made a go-ahead layup with 34.7 seconds left in overtime, Joe Johnson and Jamal Crawford each scored 19 points and the Hawks beat the Heat 93-89 on Tuesday night, sending Miami to a fourth straight loss and clawing within two games of the division lead.

"Everything we got tonight," Hawks coach Larry Drew said, "we really had to earn."

In games decided by five points or fewer, Atlanta is now 8-4. Miami is only 1-7, the lone victory coming when the Heat simply stole one from Washington in the final seconds.

And for a team that was riding a streak of 21 wins in 22 games a week ago, the Heat — who played without Chris Bosh and tried a number of unusual lineups — are sliding.

"This was a tough one," Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said. "No other way to say it. . . . It was tough to get a real handle and grip on both sides of the floor."

Johnson had a game-tying layup with 25.4 seconds left in regulation and two game-sealing free throws with 5.2 seconds remaining in overtime.

LeBron James scored 34 points and grabbed 10 rebounds for Miami, but missed a long 3-pointer at the end of regulation and another 28-foot try as the shot clock was expiring late in overtime and the Heat down by two.

Dwyane Wade finished with 27 points for the Heat, who got a truly unusual game — 16 rebounds, with no field-goal or free-throw attempts — from Joel Anthony.

The Heat had a chance to win it at the end of regulation after Johnson knotted the game, but chose not to call timeout for a final play. Instead, they worked the clock down and set up James for a 28-footer that banged off the side of the rim just before the buzzer.

"Out of rhythm," said James, who hadn't played in about a week while dealing with a sprained left ankle. "My teammates did a good job keeping the game close."

Bobcats 83, Bulls 82

In Chicago, D.J. Augustin scored 15 points, Gerald Wallace had 13 points and 16 rebounds and Charlotte held off the Bulls.

Boris Diaw and Stephen Jackson added 12 points apiece to help the Bobcats snap a three-game losing streak, with their last win coming at home against the Bulls last Wednesday.

Derrick Rose scored 33 points to lead Chicago, but missed a shot at the buzzer. Ronnie Brewer had 12 points and Luol Deng added 10 for the Bulls, who were playing without injured forward Carlos Boozer — second on the team in scoring (20.1 points per game) and rebounds (10.1).

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