Though Steph Curry and LeBron James have battled against each other countless times in the NBA Playoffs, there is no bad blood between these two basketball icons. Ahead of the first game of the Western Conference semifinals on Tuesday (May 2), LeBron, 38, and Steph, 35, took a moment where they weren’t rivals but two kids from Akron, Ohio. LeBron and Steph joked and laughed right before tip-off, giving onlookers a moment of levity before things got serious between LeBron’s Los Angeles Lakers and the defending champions, the Golden State Warriors.
Steph and LeBron during Game 1 🤝
📺: Live on TNT pic.twitter.com/12BR9FMERH
— NBA (@NBA) May 3, 2023
The Curry-James rivalry will be in the history books alongside other clashes like Magic Johnson/Larry Bird and Michael Jordan/Isaiah Thomas. Heading into this matchup, Curry and James have four NBA championship rings on their fingers. However, Steph holds the edge against LeBron in the post-season. Out of the 23 times they’ve faced, including last night’s game, Steph has won 15, per DraftKings.
Though he was joking with LeBron before the game, Steph was probably not in a laughing mood after the final buzzer blew. The Lakers drew first blood, defeating the Warriors 117-112. It was Anthony Davis who powered the Lakers to the win, blocking a Steph Curry layup and snatching a rebound off Jordan Poole‘s missed shot to secure the victory. Anthony, 30, also had 30 points, 23 rebounds, and five assists, making him the fifth player in Lakers history to have a 30-20 game in the playoffs, per ESPN.
“The Lakers franchise over the years, over the course of their existence, has always had dominant big men, dominant guys that have been a force at the rim,” said LeBron after the win. “That’s why their jerseys are in the rafters. AD will be up there when he’s done playing. The No. 3 will be up in the rafters. He continues to show why he’s one of the best players that we have in this league.”
Had Poole made the shot, it would have tied the game at 115 near the end of regulation. Jordan missed his 28-foot attempt, and the Lakers were able to capitalize. “It was a shot he was open and flowing,” Curry said of his teammate, per ESPN. “Considering how they guard us on that possession, you know, trapping me at the half court, Draymond [Green] swinging it over to him, it’s kind of an in-rhythm shot. I’m sure he felt pretty good about it. That’s why he shot it. There are no kind of regrets about that. It’s just a make-or-miss type situation and a lot of trust in him and his ability to put the ball in the basket.”