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Injury-hit Heat prevail over Hawks in marathon

(Reuters) - The Miami Heat overcame the absence of Dwyane Wade and LeBron James to beat the Atlanta Hawks 116-109 in triple overtime on Thursday, avenging their only loss of the season so far.

Wade missed his second consecutive game with a bruised left foot and was joined on the sidelines by James, who has a left ankle injury.

The Hawks had beaten the Heat 100-92 on Monday.

"This game was not defined at all by the box score or the numbers, or any of the tangible things," Heat coach Erik Spoelstra told reporters. "It was defined by all the intangible, 'X factor' areas. It looked like a heavyweight fight at the end."

The Heat led 54-49 at half time, and started quickly in the third quarter building a 13-point lead but were caught and passed by the Hawks, who closed the quarter on a 16-1 run to hold a 70-68 advantage.

Chris Bosh picked up the offensive slack in the absence of Wade and James for the Heat with 33 points, draining a three-pointer with less than a second left in regulation to level the score at 93-93 and send the game into overtime.

"It was a lucky shot," said Bosh.

"I saw Rio (Mario Chalmers) and he had a big guy on him. I just wanted to slip the screen, maybe confuse them a little bit, and get myself to pop back behind the three (point-line). I knew it was good as soon as I let it go."

Chalmers scored 13 of his 29 points in overtime, including five in the third extra period where the Heat outscored Atlanta 7-0.

"It's a tough loss because it was a fool's gold-type of game. They don't have Wade, they don't have LeBron," said Hawks reserve guard Willie Green, who scored 14 points.

"We can't take the guys that they have lightly. We beat ourselves. Give credit to those guys, take nothing away from them, but I thought we just didn't play with the sense of urgency that they did."

Joe Johnson led the Hawks with 20 points, and Ivan Johnson was sensational off the bench for Atlanta, scoring 13 points all in the second half.

(Reporting by Mike Mouat in Windsor, Ontario; Editing by Peter Rutherford)

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