Steph Curry and LeBron James may have the NBA’s premier personal rivalry but that doesn’t mean they don’t have tremendous respect for each other.
On Sunday night, the Los Angeles Lakers pounded the Golden State Warriors in a 128-97 win. As usual, the stars of this matchup were LeBron James (who finished with a triple-double) and Stephen Curry (who scored 27). It was just the 16th regular-season matchup of their illustrious careers but, because of the multiple Cavs-Warriors Finals, it was the 38th time they’ve played if you can’t the playoffs.
Familiarity and greatness breed respect and after the game, Curry talked about what the dynamic of his relationship with LeBron looks like these days (h/t ClutchPoints):
“Respect is always there. You have a situation where it’s not just me and him [LeBron]. It’s obviously its team’s going at each other and your competing year after year after year, and you get to see up close and personal greatness, and I think he will say the same thing.”
“There’s obviously a lot of pettiness and competitiveness, trash-talking and all that type of stuff that went on during those runs, but that’s the fun of it all. Like you said, the respect level is always there, and the appreciation of competition at that level. Obviously, the goal now is to get back there.”
Who has the lead in the individual matchup between Stephen Curry and LeBron James?
While LeBron may have the lead in their regular-season matchups (a 9-7 record against Curry and the Warriors), Curry has the edge in the all-important postseason. His Warriors are 15-7 against LeBron’s teams in the playoffs. LeBron has put together a super-human 33.0-point, 11.5-rebound, 9.3-assist average in those matchups but Curry has the three rings.
Curry and LeBron’s teams are on slightly different trajectories this season but it would be fun to see them matchup in the playoffs, building on this individual rivalry without the weight of a title hanging in the balance.