The table is set for the Golden State Warriors to face the Los Angeles Lakers in the play-in tournament. The journey LeBron James and the Lakers took is a much different one than Stephen Curry ventured on with the Warriors. Despite that, Curry couldn’t help but perfectly describe his longstanding rivalry with the fellow future Hall of Famer.
Stephen Curry will face LeBron James in play-in tournament game
The 2021 NBA playoff picture is nearly set, with only the play-in tournament left ahead.
The Lakers‘ pathway has had many twists and turns, but it’s led to a matchup against the Warriors on Wednesday night at Staples Center. Los Angeles nearly avoided this fate, but a five-game win streak to end the regular season wasn’t enough.
James returned for the final two contests, posting back-to-back 20-point outings. His performance extended his NBA record to 17 straight seasons averaging at least 25.0 points per game. Anthony Davis also found his form in May, averaging 22.6 points and 7.8 rebounds on 42.9% shooting
Meanwhile, Curry ignited the Warriors to earn the No. 8 seed for the play-in game. The 32-year-old cemented his MVP bid with a superb finish to the regular season.
Golden State recorded an 8-1 record in May while Curry averaged 36.8 points on 45.2% shooting with 5.6 assists and 5.1 rebounds per game. The star guard posted more than 20 points all but once while surpassing 40 points three times.
Before the two teams face each other, Curry voiced telling words concerning his rivalry with James.
Stephen Curry perfectly Describes his rivalry with LeBron James in 3 words
Since Curry‘s meteoric rise to NBA stardom, the Warriors’ success has aligned with playoff battles against James.
Golden State’s first four straight trips to the NBA Finals featured matchups against the four-time league MVP and the Cleveland Cavaliers. The two will meet for the fifth time but in a much different setting.
After his 46-point outing in the season finale against the Memphis Grizzlies, Curry impeccably described his rivalry against James.
“You expect greatness,” Curry said via Melissa Rohlin of Fox Sports. “It just brings out another level of intensity and excitement.”
The plethora of experience competing against each other in the NBA Finals only sets the bar to incredible heights. Playoff basketball is already an entirely different stage, but James and Curry only know that feeling on the court together with a championship at stake.
It all sets the stage for what should be a thrilling play-in contest.
Warriors hold stiff challenge ahead against the Lakers
Curry‘s tremendous play has guided the Warriors to a potential playoff berth, but a daunting challenge still lies ahead.
The Lakers fell to the seventh spot, but their record doesn’t speak to their talented roster. Throughout the regular season, Los Angeles dealt with notable injuries that significantly contributed to their slide down the Western Conference standings.
However, the Warriors only need to win this game to avoid any chance of missing out on the playoffs. Curry will once again need to do much of the heavy offensive lifting. In three games this year against Los Angeles, he averaged 23.0 points on 42.3% shooting from the floor and 34.6% from 3-point range.
Golden State will be facing a finally healthy Lakers team led by two of the league’s best players. The chips may be stack against the Warriors, but it present another unique opportunity.