By Simon Evans
With Chris Bosh, the third member of the Heat's leading trio, chipping in with 20 points, it was the kind of night Heat fans had hoped for after the franchise's free agency coup.
Miami entered Monday's game having lost four of their last five games and with pressure mounting on coach Erik Spoelstra amid speculation the players were unhappy with his methods.
"It is so easy for everyone to push the panic button right now. Panic is probably at an all-time high on the outside. It cannot be on the inside with us," Spoelstra said before the Heat improved to 10-8.
But Spoelstra said he was not losing any sleep worrying about his position.
"My job is to prepare this team and to get us ready for the games and continue to help us get better. That keeps my days full, and my nights." said the third-year coach.
But under intense media scrutiny, the Heat have failed to click as a team and Saturday's loss to the Dallas Mavericks included an incident where James bumped into Spoelstra as he walked to the team bench during a timeout.
The incident became an instant YouTube hit and prompted plenty of media speculation, but Spoelstra and James dismissed it as nothing more than an accident.
"It was really nothing," said Spoelstra. "Incidental contact ... it wasn't intentional or anything."
James met with Spoelstra before Monday's game and the NBA's two-time league MVP shot down reports of a rift.
"If I have something to say to Coach Spo, I'm going to go to Coach Spo. If he has something to say to me, which he's done, he's going to come to me," said James.
"It is nothing I'll take behind his back. I've never done that, I will not do that."
On court it was business as planned against a Wizards team that dropped to 0-8 on the road this season.
Miami led 52-44 at halftime and the only signs of tension came at the end of the third quarter when the Wizards' Hilton Armstrong and Miami's Juwan Howard were ejected.
(Editing by Frank Pingue)