Facing Curry, Warriors a ‘full-circle moment' for Thunder's Holmgren

Facing Curry, Warriors a ‘full-circle moment' for Thunder's Holmgren originally appeared on NBC Sports Bay Area

Chet Holmgren proved himself a worthy adversary for the Warriors on Friday night, but it wasn't the first time the Oklahoma City Thunder phenom has impressed Steph Curry on the court.

After Golden State's 141-139 victory over OKC at Paycom Center in the NBA In-Season Tournament opener, the 21-year-old reflected on facing Curry for the first time after attending the SC30 Select Camp as a high schooler in 2019.

"First time playing against him in the NBA, obviously touched on it earlier but great players over there, and he's one of them," Holmgren told reporters of Curry after the game. "Definitely got to know where he is at all times. It's a cool first full-circle moment, I guess you could call it, you know, going to his camp however many years ago it was and now being in the league with him and playing and competing.

"That's what it's all about -- I want to go out there and compete with these dudes, and they want to do the same. It's great. They're up 1-0 on us, and we've just got to continue to get better for when we see them down the line."

As a 17-year-old, the 7-foot Holmgren went viral that summer after crossing up Curry at his own camp.

And like Holmgren, it's an experience Curry remembers well.

“You have to respect him at all three levels, and he’s just getting started. The jersey swap and the history we have, he crossed me up at my own camp,” Curry told reporters after the game. “To see him now … I know he had a rough injury to start his career, but to be back and playing and healthy and playing well, it’s fun to see.”

Holmgren also had a bit of a "Welcome to the NBA" moment during the Thunder's loss as he went head-to-head with a former NBA Defensive Player of the Year in Draymond Green. The two got to know each other well during the matchup, especially after Holmgren took an elbow to the face from Green in the fourth quarter.

After the game, Holmgren had nothing but praise for Green despite their collision.

"I'm fine. I caught one. I did my job, he did his job and that's the end of the play," Holmgren told reporters. "I caught an elbow to the face, and that's what it is. He's a high-level competitor. He really knows their system and what they do, and how to be effective in it. He's up there in the category of great players over there with the other dudes.

"I think it was great to compete with another competitor, you know. I love to compete, so it's always great to have a dude across from you who's going to go at it with you."

Just six games into his NBA career after missing the 2022-23 season due to injury, Holmgren took advantage of the opportunity to play against a trio of four-time NBA champions Friday and finished with 24 points on 62.5-percent shooting with eight rebounds and five assists.

It certainly was a full-circle moment for the former Curry Camper, and Golden State can rest assured Holmgren will be a problem in the Western Conference for quite some time.

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