And that allowed the Miami Heat to show their legitimate possibilities.
Dwyane Wade taking all the right shots, only the right shots, making just about all of them.
LeBron James playing the big-muscle game at the rim, no matter the supposed inside advantage of the opposition.
And Joel Anthony reemerging as a defensive menace.
"It was good execution just to choke the game for a win," coach Erik Spoelstra said.
After spending the first seven weeks of the season seemingly refusing to admit that there actually can be a significant NBA game in November or December, the Heat played Monday night's 101-92 victory over the Atlanta Hawks at AmericanAirlines Arena with feeling.
"I think we're picking it back up," center Chris Bosh said.
From James there was pushback, after the Hawks' DeShawn Stevenson and Josh Smith found themselves having too much fun early on from the 3-point line. James closed with 27 points on 10-of-16 shooting, seven rebounds and six assists.
From Wade, there was abject precision, shooting 11 of 13 for 26 points, a second consecutive solid effort after uneven moments last week against the Washington Wizards and New York Knicks.
And from Anthony there was the type of defensive glue that had been missing for much of the Heat's meandering through the first six weeks of the season, when he found himself a rotation outsider.
Factor in Shane Battier stepping up with three 3-pointers on a night the Heat were without flu-ridden Udonis Haslem, with Rashard Lewis unable to step up as a starter, and what we have here is the rare quality win for the Heat during these early stages of the season.
"Better commitment," Spoelstra said. "It's a good win and move on."
The player who particularly who has been on the move for the Heat has been Wade, now 20 of 25 from the field the past two games.
"That's why we don't pay attention to everything that's out there," Spoelstra said of recent criticism of Wade. "He's staying consistent.
"He's a rhythm player, a flow player."
Wade agreed, especially when the shot totals are down as a co-star to James.
''Just trying to be as efficient as I can,'' he said. ''Shooting 13 shots, it's nothing I'm used to. Some nights you go for 11 for 13. Some nights you go 3 for 13. But you just try to continue to be aggressive and continue taking shots.''
All while turning a deaf ear to his critics.
"I really didn't listen to the noise. I didn't pay attention," he said. "I never really concerned myself with the noise outside.
"I'm not the leading scorer around here for nothing."
Still, in the wade of criticism on TNT's Thursday night broadcast Wade has reached another level.
''It means Charles Barkley needs to shut up,'' James said. ''I mean, the man's shooting 80 percent from the floor in the last couple games. Come on, man. That's like crazy, right? That's why who he is.''
It also gave James reason to chuckle about Barkley being injected into the debate.
"I love it," he said. "When someone's not saying stuff about me, I'm glad somebody finally got off me for a change."
It was that kind of night, when it was all good, even with Norris Cole tossing a death-defying alley-oop pass to James.
"I told him to throw it anywhere," James said, "and I think he took me literally."
Save for Kyle Korver and the back issue that kept him in Atlanta, the Hawks, who entered having won 9 of 10, were healthy. Early on, it was Smith making his first three 3-pointers and Stevenson tossing in four in the first half.
But that's when the Heat stepped up to the challenge, with Norris Cole also having his moments, as he continues to step up in place of starting point guard Mario Chalmers, and Bosh adding a double-double with 14 points and 10 rebounds.
Bosh said the uptick in offense has made it easier for the Heat to start finding their way defensively.
"It helps us play a set defense every single time," he said, with the Heat closing at 58.2 percent from the field.
Until Monday, the Hawks had been the lone NBA team yet to allow an opponent to shoot at least 50 percent from the field.
''We made just entirely too many mistakes,'' coach Larry Drew said. ''Too many mental mistakes against a very good a basketball team. Against Miami you can't do that.''
That shooting allowed the Heat to overcome issues with 16 turnovers, 14-of-22 foul shooting, as well as continued wayward shooting from Ray Allen, who closed 1 of 8.
"If those guys can shoot like that, that efficiently, it's probably pretty tough to beat us in this building," Spoelstra said.
Ultimately, what was close early, with neither team leading by more than five in the first half, became an 11-point Heat lead in the third and a degree of comfort to the close.
"In the second half," Spoelstra said, "we made a better commitment."
With his performance, James set a Heat record with his 24th consecutive regular-season game with at least 20 points. The previous record was 23 games by
Wade from March 20, 2009 to Nov. 17, 2009.