As a hoops fan who was the number one hater of the Kevin Durant Warriors, I’m glad we get a proper matchup between LeBron James and Stephen Curry in the postseason again. The last truly great matchup we got between these two superstars was seven years ago when James’ Cavs and Curry’s Warriors battled in a classic seven-game series in the 2016 NBA Finals.
Outside of the Finals in 2017 and 2018, LeBron and Steph have been unable to meet each other in the postseason again due to both of their teams not being good at the right time. In 2019 and 2022, the Lakers missed the playoffs. In 2020 and 2021 the Warriors missed the playoffs. Now, both their teams are healthy, both of their teams are good and both of their teams stand in each other’s way.
Why this matchup is so awesome
The one thing that bothered me about Kevin Durant joining the Warriors in the summer of 2016 was that I knew that Curry’s greatness was going to be diminished. Don’t get me wrong, Durant and Curry were a breathtaking dynamic duo, but it robbed basketball fans of three prime years of Curry leading a team on his own.
In my opinion, it would’ve been more entertaining if we saw a prime Bron and Steph compete in three more Finals with no KD involved. As we just saw in Game 7 of the Warriors’ first-round matchup against the Sacramento Kings, as well as in the 2022 NBA Finals, Curry can carry a team on his own.
Even though Bron is clearly not the same player he was in the mid-2010s (although still excellent) this matchup between NBA legends will be a battle of basketball geniuses. It will be so fun and interesting to see two of the smartest players in the league not only battle each other physically but also mentally. How will the Lakers guard Steph Curry? How aggressive will LeBron be with AD playing so well? Will Steph have to carry the load offensively every night as he did in Game 7 versus the Kings? How will LeBron be effective offensively with his poorest shooting from three?
These are questions the superstars and their respective coaches will have to answer, and I’m excited to see what they’ll do. As you can see in the below clip, the mind games have already started between these two.
Not to mention, the fanbases for both of these franchises are among the most obnoxious, arrogant, boastful and pompous in all of sports. It’ll be a treat to watch them go at it on NBA Twitter for the next week and a half.
Game 1 was just a preview
We’re already one game into this series and it already feels like we have a classic on our hands. Unlike the Warriors’ first-round matchup with the Kings, where both teams played a similar “run and gun” style of basketball, the Lakers are a bigger, more physical team that will destroy you in the paint. The differing styles of these two squads in Game 1 were apparent.
The Lakers took 29 free throws compared to the Warriors’ six. The Warriors took 53 three-pointers compared to the Lakers’ 25. Both teams played to their strengths. The game was nip and tuck through the first three-quarters of the game, until the Lakers pulled away midway through the fourth quarter. But, as the Warriors do, they made a furious comeback, going on a 14-0 run and tying the game 112-112 with less than two minutes to go.
After that, the Warriors would never score again—partially because of the poor shot selection by Jordan Poole—and would lose the game 117-112.
While the Lakers looked dominant at times against the defending champs, mostly thanks to Anthony Davis’ imposing presence in the paint, there’s no doubt in my mind the Warriors will come out with their hair on fire in Game 2. And if the rest of the series is just half as entertaining as Game 1, we’re in for another classic series between Bron and Steph. Get your popcorn, people.