Warriors' Stephen Curry on Rivalry with Lakers' LeBron James: 'You Expect Greatness'

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured Columnist IVMay 16, 2021

SAN FRANCISCO, CA - MARCH 15: Stephen Curry #30 of the Golden State Warriors shoots the ball during the game against LeBron James #23 of the Los Angeles Lakers on March 15, 2021 at Chase Center in San Francisco, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2021 NBAE (Photo by Noah Graham/NBAE via Getty Images)
Noah Graham/NBAE via Getty Images

The Los Angeles Lakers and Golden State Warriors could meet in the play-in tournament after the Dubs beat the Memphis Grizzlies on Sunday, 113-101.

And that would mean another showdown between LeBron James and Stephen Curry.

"You expect greatness ..." Curry told reporters about the possibility of the two stars facing off. "It just brings out another level of intensity and excitement."

With Golden State's victory, they sit at eight in the Western Conference standings. Currently the Lakers (41-30) are seventh and would need to beat the New Orleans Pelicans on Sunday—alongside a Portland Trail Blazers (41-30) loss vs. the Denver Nuggets—to secure the No. 6 seed and avoid the play-in tournament (the Blazers hold the head-to-head tiebreaker).  

Otherwise, Curry and James would face yet again. Technically it wouldn't be a postseason showdown—and the loser would still have a second chance to make the postseason by playing the winner of the matchup between the Grizzlies and San Antonio Spurs—but the stakes would be plenty high.

No, not as high as the four consecutive times Curry's Warriors met James' Cleveland Cavaliers in the NBA Finals last decade, with Curry going 3-1 in those matchups. 

But even Curry acknowledged earlier in May that the NBA would love seeing the two men doing battle in the new play-in format:

Anthony Slater @anthonyVslater

Does Steph Curry think the league would enjoy a Warriors-Lakers 7v8 play-in matchup?<br>"................." pic.twitter.com/cYngzKG1xX

It's hard to imagine a better way for the NBA to roll out its new approach to the postseason than Curry doing battle with James. And hey, even if the Lakers end up with the No. 6 seed, a matchup between Curry and Dame Lillard would be pretty darn appealing, too. 

Turns out this whole play-in tournament was a pretty good idea, huh?