Heat rookie Norris Cole had a scary moment going for a high steal on a pass in the Clippers zone, landing on his shoulders and head, but he rejoined the action without a time out.
Chris Paul led the Clippers with 27 points and 10 assists. Blake Griffin added 18 and Caron Butler 17. Miami was led by LeBron James, who scored 23 with 11 rebounds.
The lead changed hands several times in the fourth period, with hard play on both sides of the court. Miami had several chances to ice the game, but could not capitalize on their free throw shooting, only hitting 59 percent by connecting on 20-of-34 attempts.
Dwyane Wade put the Heat up two, 78-76 on a free throw. The Clippers tied it up on the ensuing possession when Chris Paul made a physics bending pass for his 10th assist of the evening to DeAndre Jordan for the easy layup.
Jordan then prevented the Heat from taking the lead, blocking his fifth shot of the game on a Shane Battier layup attempt.
Paul hit a fadeaway jumper to put the Clippers up two, 80-78. LBJ hit one of two foul shots at the other end to cut the lead in half. Dwyane Wade also hit one of two foul shots to tie the game at 80.
After two free throws by James, Caron Butler hit a three to put the Clippers back up by one, 83-82.
Chris Bosh tied it by hitting one free throw of two with two minutes remaining.
Billups was fouled on a three-point attempt with 27 seconds remaining in the game, and showed the Heat how it’s done, hitting all three of his free throws, putting the Clippers up 86-84.
LBJ was fouled on a screen, but didn’t get the finger roll to drop, and needed to sink both his foul shots to tie. He made the first, but the second bounced out. During the fight for the loose ball, Wade threw it into Paul as he was falling out of bounds, saving possession for the Heat.
On the next possession, James was again fouled driving to the basket, but missed his first and made his second, tying the score at 86.
Chris Paul had a chance to ice the game at the buzzer, but missed the floater, and the teams headed to overtime.