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  • Jack Cinquegrana

LeBron James v. Stephen Curry

Updated: May 4, 2023

(Bob Donnan/USA Today Sports)

The NBA’s fans have been spoiled over the last decade. Rarely does a sports’ biggest superstars matchup in the biggest series of the year, let-alone rematch another three times. The Cleveland Cavaliers and the Golden State Warriors played one another four times in a row in the Finals from 2015-2018. The Warriors won three out of the four series’.

Steph and LeBron have the same amount of championship rings, a common calculator of success. As mentioned prior, the Warriors bested LeBron’s Cavaliers three out of four series’. Now LeBron brings a bigger challenge for Curry to overcome; Anthony Davis and depth.

LeBron is not the talented, dominant, freight-train-like scorer he was in the past. At this point in his career he needs guys like Davis, D’Angelo Russell, Austin Reaves, etc.

Steph is on the opposite side of the spectrum. He is not getting the help from his teammates. Curry had to average 33.7 points for his team just to stay in the playoffs in the first round. He is among the top-5 in points-per-game in the 2023 playoffs, two of which belong to teams that have been eliminated.

(Jeff Chiu/AP Photo)

The greatness of Steph is not just the absurd numbers that he puts up to help his team win. It is the kid-like energy, the enthusiasm, the ability to be loose in an extremely intense situation. In big moments when their team is in desperation-mode, he will dance his way down the court or look away from his shot before it goes in the net. His unique talent for being unfazed is unrivaled.

To give you the best idea of what a series between LeBron’s Lakers and Steph’s Warriors will be like, let’s go back to 2015 to examine the first Finals meeting between the “Baby-Faced Assassin” and “The King”.


In a year where the Cavaliers were the second-seed in the East and the Warriors dominated the West only losing 15 games and winning more than 80% of their games, it was clear that these were two of the best teams in the league. Both of these teams bullied their way to the Finals, losing a combined five games on their way there, the Cavs sweeping the top-seeded Atlanta Hawks in the Eastern Conference Finals.

(Associated Press)

Even with LeBron averaging 35.8 points, 13.3 rebounds, and 8.8 assists per game and Kyrie Irving averaging 23 points, 7 rebounds, 6 assists per game, the Warriors won the series in six games and celebrated their first title as a franchise since 1975.


The following season, everything was coming up blue and gold. The Warriors set a new regular season record of wins in a single season at 73 wins. They walked into the playoffs and into Western Conference Finals were they faced Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook, and the Oklahoma City Thunder.

Even though KD averaged 30 points in the series, Westbrook almost averaged a triple-double, with over 11 assists per game, and even though Russ, KD, Steven Adams, and Serge Ibaka dominated the glass, the Warriors came back from down 3-1 and won the series with a 41-point effort from Klay Thompson in game six and a 36-point game from Curry in game seven. The Warriors were off to the Finals for the rematch with the Cavaliers.

(Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

The Warriors quickly went up 3-1 in the series winning the first two games at home. The Cavaliers, down 3-1, needed a massive momentum change to swing the series. In game five, Kyrie and LeBron each tallied 41 points to lead the Cavaliers to a 15-point win. In game six, LeBron carried the team on his back, with a stat line of 41 points, 8 rebounds, 11 assists, and 3 blocks to lead his team at home to a 14-point win.

In game seven, LeBron’s 27-point triple-double and a 26-point performance from Kyrie Irving led the Cavaliers to their first NBA title win and LeBron’s third NBA Championship. Draymond Green had 32 points and 15 rebounds in the game seven.

(Bob Donnan/USA Today Sports)


The Warriors were embarrassed by dropping a series when they were up 3-1, and so was Kevin Durant when he lost to the Warriors in the Western Conference Finals. In the summer of 2016, the Warriors acquired Kevin Durant and began their revenge tour.

They finished the season 1st in the Western Conference, and plowed their way through the playoffs sweeping each of their first three series’. The took only one loss in the Finals and their two superstars paired for at least 28.1 points, 6.2 rebounds, 4.3 assists per game each in the playoffs.

(Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

They beat the Cavaliers in the Finals for the second time in three seasons.


For fans of a Warriors-Cavaliers fourth matchup in a row, it seemed unlikely. With the Warriors finishing the regular season second in the West behind a dominant James Harden-led Houston Rockets team, and the Cavaliers placing fourth in the East before the playoffs.

The Warriors glided through the first two rounds and matched up with the Houston Rockets in the Western Conference Finals for a legendary matchup that went to seven games. Once again down 3-2 in the series the Warriors claw their way back and make the NBA Finals four-straight seasons winning games six and seven by 9 points or more. The Warriors survived the Chris Paul and James Harden-led Houston Rockets, with KD averaging 30 points-per-game, Klay Thompson averaging just under 20 points-per-game and just under 50% from three-point range. Steph of course was no slouch averaging 25 points, 6.6 rebounds, and 5.7 assists per game, 46.9% from the field, and 36% from three.

(Kyle Terada/USA Today Sports)

For LeBron and the Cavs, it was not dissimilar to the Warriors run. The first round was a struggle going to seven games against the Indiana Pacers and the Cavaliers moved on, but not winning a game in the series by more than 4 points. They went on to sweep the best-record-in-the-East Toronto Raptors in round two and were scheduled to face the Celtics in the Eastern Conference Finals.

The series went to seven games. LeBron, again, carried his team to victory, bringing them back from a 3-2 series deficit, averaging 33.6 points, 9 rebounds, 8.4 assists, and shooting 52.4% from the field. A young Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown-led Celtics team were unimpressive compared to their performances nowadays, both averaging less than 20 points-per-game.

The Finals were an unwatchable sweep of the Cavaliers and a third title for Steph Curry and Warriors. LeBron’s 34 points, 8.5 rebounds, and 10 assists per game coupled with Kevin Love’s 19 points and 11.3 rebounds per game were not enough to overcome the three-headed scoring machine that was the Warriors of 2018.

(David Richard/USA Today Sports)

Nothing much happened between the two after their fourth-straight meeting in the Finals. LeBron went on to win the NBA title with the Los Angeles Lakers in the bubble, after COVID-19 rocked the world.

Steph and the Warriors won the 2022 NBA title with new members of the dynasty; former first-overall pick Andrew Wiggins, 2021 second-round selection Jordan Poole, and Otto Porter Jr., former third-overall pick for the Wizards in 2013. A year in which they were counted out and the dynasty was proclaimed “over” by talking heads, they proved the doubters wrong and one a title against all odds.

Today both players sit with 4 NBA Championship rings and the time is ticking on their careers. They are both on the back-end of their careers and this might be one of the last chances at another ring.


This year was quite the up-and-down season for Golden State, only winning 11 of their 41 road games this season and only attaining the sixth-seed in the Western Conference, not the seed they are accustomed to. After a revitalizing game seven series win against the Sacramento Kings, the Warriors still feel like they have something to prove.

(Getty Images)

The 2023 Los Angeles Lakers looked like they might not make the playoffs all year until the trade deadline in which they acquired D’Angelo Russell, Jarred Vanderbilt, Rui Hachimura, Malik Beasley, and Mo Bamba.

Any of the matchups will be challenges for the Warriors if they can get past the Lakers in this second round.

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