LeBron James and Steph Curry have had plenty of enthralling battles against each other over the years. And on Saturday night, they added another one to that list, creating yet more NBA history in the process.
It was only in the second stint of overtime in which the Lakers were able to sneak ahead at the vital moment, with 39-year-old James draining two free throws with 1.2 seconds remaining to clinch a 145-144 victory for Los Angeles.
For two of the greatest NBA players to ever grace basketball, it was an exhibition of the pair’s transcendent abilities, even as they approach the end of their careers.
James finished with a triple-double of 36 points, career-high 20 rebounds and 12 assists, while Curry had a game-high 46 points, 15 of which came in overtime.
Curry and James have long battled against one another – particularly when James was with the Cleveland Cavaliers and he played against the Warriors in the NBA Finals for four straight seasons between 2015 and 2018.
They have often expressed their appreciation for each other’s game, and after Saturday, it was no different.
“Every year we get to do this, the back-and-forth battles, all the Finals runs, to the playoffs last year, after the horn sounded tonight there was a little laugh of we can’t like imagine a scenario where a game like tonight happens, his year, what, 21, and my year 15,” Curry told reporters. “All the other guys in the league who have been doing it 15-plus years, KD (Kevin Durant), CP (Chris Paul), it’s insane.
“You look forward to the battles, but you also appreciate the mutual respect of what it takes to keep doing what you’re doing at this level because only a few people know how hard it is. I’m happy to be in that group.”
Curry created history with his explosive performance and 45 points, recording a 65th career game with at least 40 points, and a 40th game with more than nine three-pointers, an NBA record.
James also continued to amaze despite being the NBA’s elder statesman, becoming the league’s oldest player to record at least 30 points, 20 rebounds and 10 assists, doing so in his 21st season.
“Steph keeps me young,” James told reporters. “Even though we’re two of the older guys in the league.”
James added: “It’s been a treat. For us to be able to push each other at this stage of our careers, you don’t take it for granted.
“It’s something I’ll be able to talk about with my grandkids, being able to compete with one of the greatest players to ever play the game.”
The Lakers improve to 24-23 on the season, while the Warriors slip to 19-24 with the loss.
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