The Miami Heat didn't have much trouble with James Harden in last season's NBA Finals.
This time, they should expect him to be much more involved in a different uniform.
Facing Harden for the first time since winning the NBA title, the Heat will try to minimize his impact again and make it six straight wins against the Houston Rockets on Monday night (8 p.m. ET, Sun Sports).
Miami (5-2) won its second championship by beating Oklahoma City in five games last summer, limiting Harden to 12.4 points per contest on 37.5 percent shooting in the series.
Harden is the NBA's reigning sixth man of the year, and was key to setting up the finals matchup by averaging 17.6 points over the first three rounds of the playoffs. He had a career-high 16.8 during the regular season.
Unable to sign him to a long-term contract, the Thunder dealt Harden to Houston (3-3) as part of a six-player trade last month and he's averaging a team-high 26.5 points per game in a starting role.
He didn't need to ...