The end of Monday's practice made it appear as if the Miami Heat were in full party mode.
In actuality, it was the exact opposite.
The Heat treated the media to a dunk contest, featuring LeBron James and Michael Beasley, at the conclusion of the workout on the Phoenix Suns' practice court. Afterward, they made it clear the fun was only the reward after a grueling session.
"You guys should have been here at the beginning of practice," guard Dwyane Wade said. "It wasn't relaxed at all. That was the end. Coach [Erik Spoelstra] challenged us. I thought we responded by having a great intensity practice today, very focused. Once he saw that we worked hard, he called it in. After that, the guys got to let their hair down a little bit but we came in here and worked."
The Heat held the intense practice to restore order after Saturday's loss to the Utah Jazz. Spolestra pointed out he was disappointed with the offense's shot-selection among other things.
"We have to get back on track," Spoelstra said.
Still, that was the other story of the day.
The dunking exhibition drew most of the attention, both from media and Heat players. Television cameras lined the baseline to capture the competition between James and Beasley. Several teammates, including Dwyane Wade and Mario Chalmers, gathered at halfcourt with their cell phones so they could record the show.
As usual, all eyes were on James. He executed a pair of dunks where he bounced the ball off the wall before completing slams that were worthy of the dunk contest. James said they decided to have some fun because of the strenuous practice.
"We had a great practice," James said. "It just felt good."
As for if he and Beasley were ready to participate in this weekend's dunk contest in New Orleans?
"We've got some work to do," James said. "Me and [Beasley] got some work to do."
James has never participated in the event during his 11-year career. He offered somewhat of a prediction if he ever competed. A reporter asked Wade what would happen if James entered. Before Wade could answer, James said, "I'd win."
Wade agreed, saying it would be one of the most watched events in NBA history. He also warned the public would possibly have to deal with disappointment.
"I think people are going to expect him to jump off the airplane," Wade said. "I think the expectations are so high, it might be a small letdown. The man can fly. Blake Griffin jumped over a car so they're going to want LeBron James to jump over something else."