These are two names that every basketball fan loves to hear when it comes to the playoffs. LeBron James and Stephen Curry once again are going head to head in a seven-game series. However, this time will be slightly different. The conference semifinals aren’t as big of a stage as the NBA Finals. Despite different circumstances, the hunger to win is still very high for both James and Curry.
For longtime NBA fans, I’m sure everyone is aware that James and Curry met in the NBA Finals four consecutive years from 2015-2018. In 2015, it was Curry and the Golden State Warriors who came out on top while James and the Cleveland Cavaliers made history as the first team to overcome a 3-1 deficit in Finals history. After the 2016 Finals, the Warriors regrouped and signed Kevin Durant in free agency, which made the rivalry on-sided. They returned the favor in 2017 by winning five games while sweeping the series a year later.
The question always surrounds the NBA as far as who is the current face. For two decades, James has been the best in the NBA and is always considered in the same conversation with Michael Jordan as far as the greatest of all time. However, considering how he revolutionized the game of basketball, many consider Curry as the face. The lightskin assassin also has won three of his four championships against James, which in many people’s eyes gives him the edge as the best in the world.
I’m sure many fans didn’t anticipate this matchup to take place during the regular season. Both the Warriors and the Los Angeles Lakers struggled through the course of the year with questions regarding their chances at a playoff seed. However, their veteran experience along with roster adjustments allowed both teams to finish the season strong.
The Warriors survived a seven-game series against the Sacramento Kings after a 20-point win on the road. With the season on the line, Curry rose to the occasion and put the team on his back. He scored 50 points, the most in game seven in NBA history. During the series, Curry averaged 33.7 points on 48 percent shooting.
As for James and the Lakers, they took care of business against the Memphis Grizzlies in six games. While their opponent believed they were “fine in the west”, the purple and gold put on a defensive clinic that resulted in a 40-point win in game six. For the most part, James was pacing himself but still remained effective on the floor. He averaged 22.2 points which included a 20-20 performance in game four. In year 20, James is still playing at a high level and is one of the most impactful stars in this year’s playoffs.
Both James and Curry have a mutual respect for one another. The two understand their impact on the NBA and how it has resulted in success. However, once the two go between the lines, it’s time for war. James, he looks to avoid losing another playoff series to Curry and the Warriors. Considering his history with the team, he will come into this series more motivated than ever.
As for Curry, he looks to keep his streak alive of 19 consecutive series wins against the Western Conference. However, it will not be an easy task. The West continues to improve as time continues and the Warriors want to continue their dynasty. With that being said, it will need to be a team effort in order to come out on top. With Curry leading the way, players like Kevin Looney, Klay Thompson, and others will need to contribute on both ends if Golden State makes a trip to the Conference Finals.