LeBron James was back Monday night. Back with his shooting stroke, back with his scoring edge, back in the win column.

Because of that, the Miami Heat, after a rocky week, finally could exhale, this 99-90 victory over the Washington Wizards at AmericanAirlines Arena keeping them from their first four-game losing streak in three years.

"This," coach Erik Spoelstra said, "was a game that showed some growth."

And one that showed leadership.

''I felt good about this game the minute, the second I saw LeBron come into the gym today,'' Spoelstra said. ''We had an early walkthrough and he ran in the gym, came up to every single person, player and coach and shook everybody's hand and said, 'Let's go. Let's get ready for this game.' That's what leaders do.''

"I said, 'I'm excited about what today brings,' " he said of his attitude entering.

Then he told his teammates, "Let's go," shaking each player's hand before taking the court.

And then he backed it up, closing with 23 points on 10-of-15 shooting, eight assists and seven rebounds.

Understand, James entered coming off a 6-of-18 shooting game in last Thursday's road loss to the San Antonio Spurs and then 8-of-23 inaccuracy in Sunday's road loss to the Chicago Bulls, the first time he had shot below 35 percent in consecutive games in more than three seasons. And before that, he missed a potential game-tying 3-pointer in a three-point road loss to the Houston Rockets.

"He takes it to heart," Spoelstra said, "and I love to see that leadership."

That doesn't mean there also wasn't an element of frustration, even after the Heat joined the Indiana Pacers as the lone NBA teams to already clinch playoff berths.