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MANILA, Philippines – Battles with Steph Curry have brought out the best in LeBron James.
James and Curry added a new chapter to their storied rivalry after the Los Angeles Lakers outlasted the Golden State Warriors in a classic 145-144 double-overtime win on Saturday, January 27 (Sunday, January 28, Manila time).
Although the oldest active player in the NBA at 39 years old, James delivered a sensational triple-double of 36 points, 20 rebounds, and 12 assists in 48 minutes, including the game-winning free throws with 1.2 seconds to spare.
Curry starred for the Warriors in the losing effort, unloading 46 points on a 9-of-21 clip from three-point land on top of 7 assists and 3 rebounds.
“It’s been a treat to go against one of the greatest to ever play this game and for us to continue to push each other at this state of our careers,” said James.
“You just don’t take it for granted because you don’t know how many times you’re actually going to get the moment to actually be on the same floor. It’s been a treat so far in my career.”
The two most prominent faces of the NBA, James and Curry went up against each other in the finals for four straight years from 2015 to 2018.
While Curry and the Warriors won three championships over that span, James guided the Cleveland Cavaliers to a historic crown in 2016 as they became the first NBA team to overcome a 3-1 deficit in the finals.
After leaving the Cavaliers in 2018, James picked up his fourth title when he helped the Lakers reign supreme in 2020, while Curry also became a four-time champion as he led the Warriors to the 2022 crown.
James praised Curry for being consistently dominant through the years.
“In order to be great in this league for a long period of time… you have to be able to have a growth mindset, you have to be able to adapt to the game and be able to put the work in and be able to sustain it,” said James.
“Over the years, Steph has put the work in to his body because you’re going to play so many games. He’s played in the finals years and years and years.”
His career forever intertwined with Curry, James said he will look back on their duels with fondness when he gets older.
“It’s something I’ll be able to talk about with my grandkids, talk about me being able to compete with one of the greatest players to ever play the game,” said James. – Rappler.com