That wasn't an exhale in the Miami Heat locker room in the United Center after the visitors lost their first game since Feb. 1.
There had been an emotional—as well as physical and mental—toll to winning 27 straight games, and there had also been a recent influx of media maggots, the sort not seen in the regular season since the Big Three's first season together, back in 2010-11.
Dwyane Wade said it best:
27-1 in our last 28 ain't bad. Now that it's over, I'm glad that it's over. See you all in the playoffs.
Now coach Erik Spoelstra can prepare for those playoffs, resting his key guys without concern that he is depriving them of a piece of history. The Heat are on the verge of clinching the top seed in the Eastern Conference and lead the San Antonio Spurs in the chase for the top overall seed in the NBA.
Following the defeat, Spoelstra had already turned his attention to the next phase. He spoke of pursuing a "bigger goal" than the streak and how that pursuit would require better play than the Heat had produced of late:
Objectively, we can step back and admit that we probably weren’t getting better, these last handful of games.
So what matters to Miami now, with 11 games left in the season?
(All quotes for this piece were collected through the course of the author's coverage of the Miami Heat for the Palm Beach Post. All statistics were accurate as of Thursday afternoon.)