NBA: Heat stay alive with overtime win over Cavs

The Miami Heat kept their NBA playoff hopes alive Monday with a 124-121 overtime victory over Cleveland that dropped the reigning NBA champion Cavaliers to second in the Eastern Conference.

The Cavs, locked in a duel with the Boston Celtics for the top seed in the East, nevertheless rested stars LeBron James and Kyrie Irving in Miami.

They suffered their second overtime defeat in as many days, having squandered a 26-point fourth-quarter lead in a stunning loss to the Atlanta Hawks on Sunday.

Against the Heat they took a 91-80 lead into the fourth, but Miami stormed back to force overtime and claim the win.

Tyler Johnson had 24 points and Hassan Whiteside added 23 and 18 rebounds as the Heat snapped a three-game home losing streak.

Deron Williams, starting at point guard in place of Irving, led Cleveland with 35 points. Kevin Love added 25 with 10 rebounds before he fouled out with 34 seconds left in overtime.

With the Celtics beating the Brooklyn Nets 114-105, the defeat dropped the Cavs one game behind Boston for first place in the conference.

For the Heat, the victory means they will be fighting with the Indiana Pacers and Chicago Bulls for the last two playoff spots in the East when the regular season concludes on Wednesday.

The Pacers, with 27 points from Paul George, defeated the Philadelphia 76ers 120-111 on Monday and lie second in the Eastern Conference.

The Bulls crushed the Orlando Magic 122-75 and at 40-41 have the same record as Miami with one game remaining for each.

But Chicago own the tiebreaker, so if they finish with the same record as the Heat the Bulls will claim the eighth and final playoff spot.

Robin Lopez scored 18 points and Jimmy Butler and Jerian Grant had 17 apiece to pace the Bulls. Nikola Mirotic added 16 points and veteran Dwyane Wade chipped in 13 as Chicago won by their biggest margin of the season.