This was about more than a head-to-head battle for the eighth and final playoff seed in the Eastern Conference.
This was about an essential first step for what comes next.
Because for the Miami Heat, even though it didn't look that way at times Sunday at AmericanAirlines Arena, this 93-75 victory over the Charlotte Hornets was the easy part.
Up next: road games this week against the Oklahoma City Thunder, San Antonio Spurs, Milwaukee Bucks and Washington Wizards.
To be followed in the dwindling days of the regular season by two games against the Boston Celtics and single games against the Toronto Raptors, Philadelphia 76ers, Brooklyn Nets and Bucks...