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SHOULD THE BEARD BE FEARED? James Harden has unbelievable amounts of talent. He’s best known for his mohawk-and-beard look. And one of the gripping questions entering this finals matchup got an answer Monday, when Harden was asked if he would be sitting down with some clippers at the end of the season. “The beard’s going to stay. Win or lose,” Harden said.

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WHO HAS THE BEST SIDELINE MOM? LeBron, Dwyane, Kevin, Russell, say any of those first names and everyone who’ll watch these finals knows exactly who you’re talking about. It might not be long before the same can be said about Jolinda and Wanda. Really. Jolinda Wade (Dwyane Wade’s mom) and Wanda Pratt (Kevin Durant’s mom) will be getting plenty of airtime in this series. The Heat guard always makes a point to hug his mother just before tipoff, and maybe the most compelling image of the Western Conference finals was Durant falling into his mother’s arms when the Thunder knew they were going to the title round. (Side note: Those envelopes Heat players were handed after the East finals ended? They were cards from Jolinda Wade.)

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WADE VS. WESTBROOK? Assuming that LeBron James and Kevin Durant put up similar numbers in the series, maybe one key element in deciding this title will be how Dwyane Wade and Russell Westbrook perform. Wade raises his game in the NBA finals, and for whatever reason, Westbrook has struggled against Miami _ though that was news to Wade. “Russell Westbrook is what makes them very special,” Wade said. Yes, but Westbrook has shot just 30 percent in his last five games against the Heat. If Miami figures out a way to keep him from getting rolling, and if Wade turns in another finals-MVP-type showing, the Heat will have a huge edge.

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WHO WILL WIN THE FINALS? Oklahoma City is 8-0 at home in these playoffs, winning by an average of more than 10 points per game. The Thunder got more rest going into the title series, and have a huge head of steam after winning four straight against San Antonio. But the Heat are driven by the pain of losing in the finals last season. And James may be playing at his highest level yet. So in a championship-or-bust season, the Heat … won’t bust. Miami in six.

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