There's always concern when a team on a hot streak gets assaulted by the NBA All-Star game and everyone's gotta stop playing so the media can make a big deal out of Kobe Bryant's blocking LeBron James' shot in the most meaningless game of the year.
And that concern was not immediately alleviated when the Heat lost a nine-point lead to the Atlanta Hawks in their first game after the break Wednesday night.
But LeBron hasn't been making a mark on a ballstastic career as an indomitable basketball demigod for shits and giggles. He's about getting more rings. And so, as "the real" season got under way, so did LeBron.
With Chris Bosh missing his first eight shots in horrible fashion and Dwyane Wade not looking like his usual MV3 self and with Ray Allen doing that thing where he blows on the road and with Mario Chalmers stepping on people's feet and twisting his own ankle, it was up to LeBron to keep the Heat from completely collapsing.
James scored 19 points by halftime and single-handedly kept the Heat in this game despite a couple of careless turnovers and ill-advised jump shots.
Still, what was a comfortable first-quarter nine-point lead soon turned into a ten-point deficit. Entering the fourth, the Heat found itself down 73-63.
But it was only a matter of time before the rest of the Heat awoke from their slumber of suck and began to put forth a team effort to extinguish the Hawks and take the division by the cojones, kicked off by this fearsome soaring death maw of an assist-off-the-backboard dunkquake:
Soon everyone was in on the throttling, with Wade quietly rocking the shit in the fourth quarter by hitting timely shots and carrying the load when LeBron was getting a breather.
Ray Allen found his stroke and turned shit into wine by nailing threes.
And Shane Battier donkey-punched the Hawks' defense with five three-pointers while solving:
Battier and Allen's late-game threes sparked the Heat to a 40-point quarter that ended with the Hawks going down to Miami 103-90 and earning the Heat a four-game lead in the East ahead of the Knicks.
"You can't get comfortable with them," Hawks guard Kyle Korver said afterward. "They showed why they're a championship team. In the fourth quarter, in winning time, they had a lot of guys step up and make plays."
If you like this story, consider signing up for our email newsletters.
SHOW ME HOW
You have successfully signed up for your selected newsletter(s) - please keep an eye on your mailbox, we're movin' in!