There wasn't much to fear about the beard in Game 1 of the NBA Finals.
NBA sixth man of the year James Harden scored only five points - 12 1/2 below his playoff average - in his finals debut but was hardly lamenting it Wednesday with his Oklahoma City Thunder up 1-0 in the series against the Miami Heat.
Harden had scored in double digits in all 15 playoff games this season before making it only halfway there to start the finals. He played only 22 minutes, his least of the playoffs, largely because he was pulled after picking up his fourth foul late in the fourth quarter and did not return. Defensive stopper Thabo Sefolosha replaced him and did a good enough job of slowing down LeBron James that he never came out.
''I think I did a pretty good job ... obviously I didn't score the ball well but just defensively and doing other things to help the team win,'' Harden said Wednesday ''Ws are all that matter now. It's not about individual performances...