Despite owning the best record in the Eastern Conference, the Miami Heat will emerge from the All-Star break at a net deficit.

The busy work begins now.

At 36-14, the Heat are four games free and clear from the pack in the East, but they'll have little in the way of free time the balance of the season, their 50 games played tied for the fewest in the NBA.

By contrast, the Los Angeles Clippers have played 56, the Houston Rockets 55.

"We always see that, too," forward LeBron James said. "When we see the stats and we see some of the numbers go up, we always see that we're far behind a lot of teams."

It will make for a hectic sprint to the finish, returning from the five-day All-Star break with a run of four games in five nights, starting Wednesday at Philips Arena against the Atlanta Hawks.

"Being that many games behind, it means there's going to be some back-to-backs, there's going to be some four in five nights," James said. "We start with a four in five nights coming back off the break. We'll make those games up. We'll be ready for them. I'll be ready."