Such is the case when a 14-hour flight to Beijing is to follow immediately afterward.
So after putting their best foot forward at the start, the Heat closed more like a team that already had dropped an Ambien in a 92-79 exhibition loss Sunday to the Atlanta Hawks at Philips Arena.
There was one, notable exception, however. Opting for exhaustion over pharmacology in advance of the overnight flight, Heat center Chris Bosh treated the game like it meant something, closing with 22 points in his 23 minutes, including 15 in the third quarter.
"He was very aggressive," coach Erik Spoelstra said, "but he does it within the context of the game."
Bosh closed 8 of 14 from the field.
"Just to be back out there with the guys, it's a good feeling," he said. "I'm doing a better job of learning how to play and be efficient within the offense. I know where my spots are going to be."
After LeBron James made a strong opening statement and Ray Allen showed he will fit in quite nicely with the second unit, the Heat essentially turned the rest of the game into an extended tryout for the likes of Robert Dozier, Dexter Pittman, Terrel Harris and Josh Harrellson.
After going for eight points, four rebounds and three assists while playing all 12 minutes in the first quarter, James closed with 10, six and six in 23 minutes, as interested in the pregame locker room in getting the game started as later getting it over with.
"It felt good getting up and down the floor," he said of his initial burst. "It was good to see how we started out."
Allen, playing as a reserve even with Dwyane Wade held out as he works his way back from July arthroscopic knee surgery, dominated the ball with the second unit, finishing with 10 points on 5-of-8 shooting and five assists, hardly showing signs of his own June ankle surgery. He attempted only one of the Heat's 15 3-pointers, missing it.
"I've love shooting it, but I also love the mid-range game, I love posting up, I love passing the ball," he said. "I'm not going to force it."
In addition to Wade, the Heat also were without Udonis Haslem, Mario Chalmers, Joel Anthony, Garrett Temple and Rodney Carney, with all nursing minor ailments that did not keep them from traveling to China.
That had Spoelstra mixing and matching lineups. But Spoelstra stayed true to last season's undersized championship rotation, with Bosh opening at center and Shane Battier at power forward, with each having their moments from beyond the 3-point line.
There were, however, notable struggles, with Pittman again unable to stay out of foul trouble, Harris uneven when cast at point guard in the absence of a legitimate backup for Norris Cole, and Mike Miller passive as the replacement starter for Wade.
Spoelstra was most displeased with the Heat's 23 turnovers, including five for Cole and five for Harris.
"We turned the ball over so much, it was hard to get a gauge," he said. We're not going to just discard this game, even if there are some excuses."
Among those getting in a workout before Sunday's game was veteran forward Juwan Howard, who is not on the Heat's preseason roster. "Having fun," Howard, 39, said when asked why he was around. "You know me, having fun." The Heat said Howard is "helping out in an undefined role." He is traveling with the team for their weeklong preseason trip to China . . .
While Heat television announcers Eric Reid and Tony Fiorentino will call the Heat's upcoming exhibitions in China nationally for NBA TV (there will be no local telecasts), the games will not be broadcast on radio.