Kent Bazemore spent the better part of his first two NBA seasons watching Stephen Curry as a reserve guard for the Warriors.
On Friday, Bazemore's first-place Hawks (41-9) will face Curry's first-place Warriors (39-8), and Bazemore is getting ready for the task early.
"As soon as he gets off the bus, you pick him up," Bazemore said in a radio interview with A to Z With Mark Zinno Thursday in regards to guarding Curry. "As soon as he steps in the gym he can shoot it from anywhere. He's a very tough player and I got a chance to guard him over the summers or during practice sometimes.
"He's definitely grown the year-and-a-half that I was there. He wasn't as physical at first and now he's playing through contact and getting all the way to the rim. His handle getting into his jumpshot is nothing anyone ever seen before. So he's a very dangerous player. He can get hot from anywhere and shoot it from anywhere, so we've just got to match his intensity and get a hand up whenever you can."
Bazemore is not surprised that Curry, along with fellow "Splash Brother" Klay Thompson have developed into one of the NBA's most dynamic backcourt.
"Not at all," Bazemore said. "Klay is a very hard worker, a very soft spoken person. When I first met him he only said like three words to me. He's always to himself and he loves the game of basketball. You can catch him during timeouts sometimes glaring off, doing form-shooting right in the middle of the game. He's definitely locked in at all times.
"The work that he's put in, from what I've seen, is definitely paying off."
Bazemore isn't sure what to expect from Friday's showdown, pitting the top teams in each conference against each other, save for one thing.
"Gonna be a lot of threes, man," Bazemore siad. "Those guys let it fly. We're a great 3-point shooting team as well.
"It's going to be a very intense game. I mean I think it could go either way -- either a really good game or a really bad game for both teams because there's so much anticipation, you know, 1A and 1B in the league. There's gonna be so many eyes watching. I'm curious to see it all unfolds."
Bazemore, 25, is averaging 3.6 points, 2.2 rebounds and 13.5 minutes per game for the Hawks this year, his third NBA season.