The fans responded, cheering louder than they had all night as Duncan stood at the free-throw line with less than a minute to play.
Maybe it worked, maybe it didn't.
Duncan made five of 12 free throws as the Heat earned its 16th victory in its last 17 home games. The Spurs had their five-game winning streak ended.
"When it came down to it, it was me not making free throws," said Duncan, a 77% free-throw shooter.
"This was an anomaly for Tim from the line," Spur Coach Gregg Popovich said. "He's been a hell of a free-throw shooter for us this year."
With the score, 83-83, P.J. Brown blocked Duncan's shot. Miami's Jamal Mashburn, who scored 26 points, then made a three-point basket to give the Heat an 86-83 lead.
Trailing 86-84 with 1:16 left, Duncan missed the second of two free throws. Hardaway then made a scoop shot under Duncan's arm to give Miami an 88-84 lead.
Duncan, who finished with 19 points and 11 rebounds, could have pulled the Spurs to within two points, but missed two more free throws.
David Robinson led the Spurs with 28 points, making 12 of 13 free throws.
Johnson, coaxed out of retirement when Jason Kidd broke his ankle, had four points and two assists. He played the entire fourth quarter as the Suns rallied to move one game ahead of San Antonio for the fourth-best record in the Western Conference and home-court advantage in a possible first-round playoff series.
"I felt like it was two years ago," Johnson said. "Just lace 'em up and play basketball."
Rodney Rogers scored 23 points and made two free throws with 16.6 second left for the Suns.
Sacramento 117, Philadelphia 95--Jason Williams made four of five three-pointers in the third quarter as the Kings broke open a close game with a 13-0 run at Sacramento.
Vlade Divac had 14 points, 11 rebounds and a season-high 11 assists for his sixth career triple-double, and Chris Webber added 26 points, 10 rebounds and eight assists for the Kings.
Allen Iverson scored 23 points for the 76ers, who have lost three consecutive road games.
Toronto's Vince Carter left the game early in the third quarter because of a bruised right shoulder. X-rays were negative, but Carter had trouble raising his arm and was to be reevaluated.
The Raptors have lost seven of eight games.
Portland 95, Seattle 82--Steve Smith scored 21 points at Portland as the Trail Blazers completed a a sweep of their four games against the SuperSonics.
Portland had to do it without leading scorer Rasheed Wallace, who set an NBA record for technical fouls in a season (34) when he was ejected early in the second quarter.
Wallace broke the mark of 32 held by Charles Barkley and Dennis Rodman.
Detroit 113, New Jersey 92--Jerry Stackhouse scored 34 points as the Pistons won at East Rutherford, N.J., to avoid falling into eighth place in the Eastern Conference.
Grant Hill added 32 points, 12 rebounds and eight assists for the Pistons, who ended a two-game losing streak and moved a half-game ahead of Orlando (37-36) in the conference standings.
Milwaukee 117, Golden State 113--Sam Cassell scored 31 points and Ray Allen had 27 at Oakland as the Bucks prevented the Warriors from completing a season sweep.
Vancouver's Mike Bibby had his first career triple-double with 14 points, 11 assists and 11 rebounds.
Chicago 83, Cleveland 74--Chris Carr scored 10 points in the fourth quarter at Cleveland to help the Bulls end a four-game losing streak. Elton Brand led Chicago with 23 points and 14 rebounds.