New Orleans Hornets Coach Monty Williams took all the necessary steps before Friday night’s game against LeBron James and the Miami Heat to make sure his young players wouldn’t feel they were up against an insurmountable challenge.

Williams emphasized keeping the same approach, treating the Heat like any other opponent on their schedule. But nothing turned out normal, James was so proficient, he heard cheers from the sellout crowd of 18,647 at the New Orleans Arena after scoring a game-high 36 points, which included seven 3-pointers, to lead the Heat to a 108-89 rout of the Hornets.

The Hornets (25-48) were the first team to play the defending champion Heat (57-15) since its 27-game winning streak abruptly ended with a 101-97 loss to the Chicago Bulls this past Wednesday at the United Center. Showing range and accuracy, James opened the game against the Hornets making six consecutive 3-pointers.

James’ spree started during the final two minutes of the first quarter when he made three in a row. He didn’t stop there, sinking three more during the opening four minutes of the second quarter. Hornets forward Al Farouq Aminu and rookie backup forward Darius Miller were helpless at staying in front of James to force him to miss 3-pointers.