The Hawks rallied from 16 points down early on and a six-point deficit in OT, pulling even on Johnson’s third trey of the night and a three-point play by Josh Smith, who led Atlanta with 32 points and 17 rebounds.
Cleveland reclaimed the lead when Tristan Thompson made one of two free throws. After a timeout, the Hawks went to Johnson, who spun away from Kyrie Irving and made the shot over Alonzo Gee.
Cleveland had two shots at the end. Irving missed and Gee botched a follow from right underneath the hoop.
Johnson, who wasn’t a factor much of the game, finished with 22 points. Irving nearly had a triple double for the Cavaliers, scoring 29 points to go along with nine rebounds and nine assists. Antawn Jamison added 23 points.
The fourth quarter was sloppy, but Irving and Johnson provided plenty of thrills in the closing seconds.
First, with Cleveland clinging to an 89-88 lead and a difference of about 2 seconds between the shot clock and the game clock, Irving dribbled the clock down near midcourt, then did a complete spin to get away from Kirk Hinrich and burst toward the basket. He flipped in the layup, despite a bump from the late-arriving Hinrich that wasn’t called with 5.4 seconds left.
The Hawks had one final chance, and they had to have a 3.
Johnson got a pick from Zaza Pachulia, broke free at the top of the arc and got off the shot over the outstretched left arm of Anthony Parker, flying out in a desperate bid to distract the shooter. No chance. Johnson hit nothing but net, the ball clearing the rim as the red light went off.