Steph Curry has the same expectations that NBA fans do as the Golden State Warriors take on the Los Angeles Lakers in the play-in tournament. Whenever Curry squares off against LeBron James, the Warriors superstar says he expects “greatness.”
“You expect greatness,” Curry noted after the Warriors topped the Grizzlies, per NBC Sports Bay Area. “That’s the part I’ve enjoyed so much about playing in Finals against him, against those Cleveland teams in those games that matter. It brings out another level of intensity and excitement and a sense of urgency because you know how good you have to play to win games like that.”
This edition of LeBron-Curry will be unlike the previous versions. It does not have the feel of the NBA Finals matchups the two superstars have had throughout their careers. Instead, both teams have had their struggles this season as James along with Curry will be fighting just to make it into the playoffs.
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LeBron Campaigned for Steph to Win NBA MVP
Curry’s reaction came just a few hours before the Warriors-Lakers matchup was officially cemented by the Blazers’ win over the Nuggets. James would later use his regular-season finale press conference to campaign for Curry to win the MVP award.
“I don’t know anything else, if you’re looking for MVP, if Steph is not on Golden State’s team, then what are we looking at?” James explained to reporters. “We get caught up in the records sometimes. We get caught up in, okay, who has the best record instead of just saying who had the best season that year? And Steph has had, in my opinion, the best season all year, and it was the same when Russ [Russell Westbrook] won the MVP. Russ was the first guy to have a triple-double in a season since the Big O [Oscar Robertson], and everyone threw the records out the window then when he won it. And I think, you look at what he’s [Curry] doing, Russ deserved it that year, and obviously, I don’t think Steph is going to get it because that’s another conversation, but in my eyes, he’s played the best basketball all year round.”
Kerr on James vs. Curry: ‘4 Meetings in the Finals Is Going to Create a Rivalry’
Warriors head coach Steve Kerr has had a front-row seat to the majority of Curry’s battles with James. Despite all the talks of a rivalry, Kerr noted that the superstars’ relationship is about “mutual respect.”
“You’re talking about two of the greatest players of all time, both guys still playing at such an elite level,” Kerr noted, per NBC Sports Bay Area. “And, of course, four meetings in the Finals is going to create a rivalry. There’s tremendous mutual respect between the two of them.”
The Lakers opened as a seven-point favorite in the play-in matchup against the Warriors, but now Los Angeles is favored by just 4.5 points, per OddsShark. James and the Lakers will have as many as two opportunities to get one play-in win in order to secure a spot in the playoffs.