NBA Finals: LeBron James is playing great basketball, and appears miserable while doing it.

Father time is catching up with Miami Heat. James is taking the Heat about as far as one player can go.
by Berry Tramel Published: June 13, 2012

LeBron James says he's having fun. Says he's enjoying himself.

Sure doesn't look like it.

LeBron is doing his ultimate Superman impersonation. Faster than a speeding bullet (though not Russell Westbrook). More powerful than a locomotive. Able to leap tall buildings in a single bound.

And in serious need of counseling, or at least a weekend trip to his Fortress of Solitude.

As LeBron continues his chase of that elusive championship, with Game 2 of the NBA Finals in downtown OKC on Thursday night, my only question for LeBron is this.

Where's the joy?

Where's the on-court bowling ball fun and the posing for fake pictures and the chalk shower he gave anyone sitting at the scorer's table? Where's the guy with a bounce in his step even when the clock wasn't moving?

LeBron is playing basketball like the burden of the Free World rests on his shoulders. Responsibility run amok.

He says otherwise. “I think I have a lot of fun with the game,” LeBron said. “This year in particular, I have a lot of fun or I've had a lot of fun with the game. I got back to what drove me to the game and what made me fall in love with the game.”

Yeah, he's a barrel of laughs. When the whole danged world is having a good time with Westbrook's goofy wardrobe, including Russ himself, LeBron stoically proclaimed that no, Westbrook did not set the fashion trend of lensless eyewear. LeBron disputed Westbrook's assertions with all the seriousness of C-SPAN.

LeBron's game is at an all-time high. He had a routine Game 1 – 30 points, nine rebounds, four assists.

Routine only compared to that Game 6 in Boston, where LeBron had 45 points, 15 rebounds, five assists and only seven missed shots. Which might not even have been his best game of these playoffs, considering he had 40 points, 18 rebounds and nine assists in a crucial Game 4 win over Indiana.

Truth is, LeBron never has played better. And never looked more miserable doing it.

He jumped ship in Cleveland in an admission he needed more help and landed on a superstar cruise ship in Miami only to discover that he needs more help.

The Thunder appears to have the better team in these Finals. Seemed that way going into the series, seemed that way coming out of Game 1.

This is Cleveland South (Beach). The Heat will go as far as LeBron can take it, and LeBron is taking the Heat about as far as one player can go.

He's got a beat-up Dwyane Wade and a beat-up Chris Bosh, and while I suppose that's better than Mo Williams and Anderson Varejao, that's not what LeBron had in mind.

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by Berry Tramel
Columnist
Berry Tramel, a lifelong Oklahoman, sports fan and newspaper reader, joined The Oklahoman in 1991 and has served as beat writer, assistant sports editor, sports editor and columnist. Tramel grew up reading four daily newspapers — The Oklahoman,...
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