LeBron James vs Steph Curry: The Los Angeles Lakers will face the defending champion Golden State Warriors in the Western Conference semi-finals. This marks the first time these two teams will meet in the playoffs since the 1991 semis, in which the Lakers emerged victorious in five games. With both James and Curry holding four championship rings apiece, this series could potentially be the defining moment in their legacies.
Lebron James vs Steph Curry: The Beginning
LeBron and Curry first faced off in the playoffs during the 2015 NBA Finals.
In the 2015 NBA Finals, the Golden State Warriors were just starting their dynasty, while LeBron James had returned to Cleveland after winning two championships in Miami. Despite James’ incredible performance of 35.8 points, 13.3 rebounds, and 8.8 assists per game, the Warriors won the series 4-2.
Steph Curry won the regular season MVP in 2015 with an average of 26 points per game. However, during the NBA Finals, it was Andre Iguodala who won the MVP trophy. The Golden State Warriors defense of LeBron and their big-time shot-making played a crucial role in the Warriors winning the series.
The 2015 NBA Finals marked the start of a four-year stretch where the Golden State Warriors and Cleveland Cavaliers faced each other in the NBA Finals for four consecutive years. The Warriors came out on top in 2015 and 2017, while the Cavaliers won in 2016.
An Unforgettable Playoff Series
The 2016 NBA Finals was a historic series between the Golden State Warriors and the Cleveland Cavaliers. The Warriors had set a regular season record of 73 wins, with Steph Curry becoming the only unanimous MVP in NBA history. In the playoffs, they overcame a 3-1 deficit against the Oklahoma City Thunder to reach the Finals. Cleveland had an easy path to the Finals, with LeBron James, Kyrie Irving, and Kevin Love leading the way.
The series started with two dominant wins by Golden State, but the Cavs responded with a blowout win in Game 3. The Warriors won Game 4 to take a 3-1 lead, but then momentum shifted. Draymond Green’s suspension for Game 5 gave LeBron and Kyrie the opportunity to shine, with each putting up 41 points. They followed that up with another 41-point performance by LeBron in Game 6, tying the series at 3.
Game 7 was a classic, with both teams playing their hearts out. Kyrie hit a clutch shot, and LeBron made a game-changing block to secure Cleveland’s first-ever NBA championship. LeBron was named Finals MVP, leading both teams in every statistical category. The Warriors would go on to win the next two championships, but this series will always be remembered as a historic moment in NBA history.
Kevin Durant Era
In 2017, Kevin Durant joined Golden State, and the Warriors won the championship in five games against the Cleveland Cavaliers. KD was named the Finals MVP with 35.2 points and 8.2 rebounds per game. In 2018, Cleveland was swept by Golden State again, with Durant named MVP once more. After injuries to KD and Klay Thompson in 2019, Durant left in free agency, and LeBron left Cleveland for the Los Angeles Lakers.
2021 Warriors vs Lakers Play-In Game
The Warriors and Lakers met in the play-in tournament, with LeBron’s Lakers winning 103-100 thanks to a game-winning shot. Despite Steph Curry’s 37 points, the Lakers advanced to the playoffs thanks to LeBron’s triple-double (22 pts, 11 rebs, 10 ast). However, the Lakers lost to the Suns in six games in the first round, ending their postseason run.
Skip Bayless says LeBron James vs. Steph Curry isn’t a rivalry because LeBron ‘outplayed him across the board’ in every series: https://t.co/PDjfl0XrUW
— NBACentral (@TheDunkCentral) May 3, 2023
Lebron James vs Steph Curry: Final Thoughts
Steph Curry won his first Finals MVP last season as Golden State made it to their sixth Finals in eight years, winning for the fourth time. Meanwhile, LeBron James has been to 10 Finals, winning four and losing six, with his most recent appearance coming in the 2020 covid-bubble season.
LeBron James and Steph Curry are two of the greatest players of their generation, with LeBron being the all-time leading scorer and Steph holding the record for most three-pointers in NBA history. Both players have won four championships, and they are now facing each other in the playoffs, with a chance to solidify their legacies by chasing their fifth ring. LeBron is widely regarded as the greatest of this generation, while Steph is considered the greatest shooter to ever pick up a basketball.