Steph Curry and LeBron James are two of the biggest names in the NBA, with both players considered among the best to ever play the game. They have competed against each other on many occasions, and they are set for yet another postseason battle as the Los Angeles Lakers take on the Golden State Warriors, with Game 1 starting Tuesday night in San Francisco.
To date, Curry has the upper hand with an impressive 15-7 record against James in the postseason to go along with a 3-1 series advantage. 2023 marks the first time the two will meet in the playoffs but not the NBA finals. They met in a play-in game in 2021, with the LeBron-led Lakers winning and advancing to the playoffs; however, it should be noted that play-in games don't count toward playoff stats, so Curry's record remains intact.
Curry's Shooting Gives Him the Edge Over LeBron
The rivalry between Curry and James goes back to the 2015 NBA Finals, when the Golden State Warriors and Cleveland Cavaliers faced off in what would be the first of four straight NBA Finals matchups between the two teams. In that series, Curry and the Warriors emerged victorious in six games. The following year, the Warriors and Cavaliers met again in the Finals, and this time James led the Cavaliers to a historic comeback from a 3-1 deficit to win the series in seven games and was named Finals MVP.
Curry and James have faced each other a total of 22 times in the NBA playoffs ahead of their second-round battle this year. Curry and the Warriors have won the last five of those postseason games, including a 4-0 sweep of James and the Cavaliers in the 2018 NBA Finals.
So, what has allowed Curry to have such success against James in the playoffs? For one, Curry's shooting ability is unmatched in the NBA, and he has consistently been able to knock down shots from all over the court. This makes the all-time three-point scoring leader a difficult player to defend; even James, who is known for his defensive prowess, has struggled to contain Curry at times.
Another factor is the team Curry has had around him. Curry's supporting cast has included other feature players such as 2015 Finals MVP Andre Iguodala, Klay Thompson, Draymond Green and Kevin Durant, which made it difficult for James and the Cavaliers to focus defensive attention on Curry. While James did have a supporting cast of players such as Kyrie Irving, Tristan Thompson and Kevin Love in Cleveland, they were unable to consistently match the level of play that Curry and company were able to bring to the table.
That's not to say Curry's overall success against James in the postseason has come easily. LeBron and the Cavs were responsible for taking one NBA Championship away from the Curry-led Warriors. And some of the victories over James and Cleveland were hard-fought battles that could have gone either way. But still, the Golden State Warriors are the reason why "blowing a 3-1 lead" is a meme.
The Newest Chapter Begins
Despite Curry's impressive record against James in the postseason, it's important to remember that basketball is a team sport and no player can win on their own. James has a new team surrounding him in the Los Angeles Lakers and is ready to write the next chapters in this storied rivalry. James' record versus Curry in the regular season as a member of the Lakers is even at 4-4. The Lakers won the season series with the Warriors 3-1 this year, though Curry and James were active at the same time for just one of those games, a 123-109 Golden State win back in October.
While Curry's 15-7 postseason record against James is a testament to his talent as a player, there is no telling what will happen when these two basketball titans square off for another postseason battle. When the NBA's all-time 3-point leader meets the NBA's all-time leading scorer in the second-round matchup between the Los Angeles Lakers and Golden State Warriors, all bets are off. Prepare for history to be made.
MORE: The Golden State Warriors Blew a 3-1 Lead and It Cost Them The Greatest Season in NBA History
Want More Sports News?
Get the biggest and best sports news sent directly to your inbox.