And a few moments after that, the Miami Heat had complete control of Game 1 against the New York Knicks.
James scored 32 points after shooting 10 for 14 from the field, and the Heat rode the strength of what became a 32-2 run to easily beat the Knicks 100-67 on Saturday, striking first in the series between clubs that waged classic annual battles from 1997 through 2000 and are meeting for the first time since.
Dwyane Wade added 19 points in his first game back after dislocating his left index finger.
''Our guys had a noticeable look in their eyes the last 24 hours,'' Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said. ''We wanted to get back to the basics and play to our identity. For the most part, we were able to do that by being aggressive.''
No, this wasn't redemption for falling short in last season's finals.
But for James and the Heat, it sure was a fine start.
''I'm a different player this year, a different person this year compared to last year,'' James said. ''I've waited to get back to the postseason, prepared myself all season, throughout the offseason to get back to this point.''
It was physical, it was heated - and it was one-sided. New York's 67 points matched a franchise playoff low.
Mario Chalmers finished with 11 points and nine assists for Miami, which turned 27 New York turnovers into a franchise playoff-record 38 points. The Knicks were called for 21 fouls in the first half, Miami enjoying a 28-5 advantage in free throws attempted in the first 24 minutes alone, and center Tyson Chandler sent James flying with what was called a flagrant foul as the Heat were blowing the game open.