OAKLAND – There is no deeper position in today’s NBA than point guard, and fans at Oracle Arena on Sunday night saw a splendid representation of that talent.
Stephen Curry vs. Damian Lillard is about as good as it gets.
The 136-111 victory by Curry’s Warriors was far more decisive than the duel between Curry and Lillard.
Curry won it, scoring a game-high 39 points, draining 13-of-21 from the field, including 9-of-13 from beyond the 3-point arc. Lillard scored 38 points on 13-of-27 shooting, including 4-of-9 from deep.
Curry’s scoring output, the highest for the league’s top scorer since 41 points on March 7, suggested he was particularly energized by the idea of facing Lillard, who ranks fifth in the league in scoring.
“It’s fun, obviously, because good things are happening,” Curry said. “But you want to just weather the storm on his end, because he’s such an explosive player. You can play great defense and he’ll still knock down shots.”
Curry scored 14 points in the first quarter. So did Lillard. When Curry fired in 14 more points in the third quarter, Lillard’s reply was 16.
“It was quite a show,’ Warriors coach Steve Kerr said. “Both guys had it rolling . . . it was something to watch when they both got hot at the same time.”
It was, at times, based on crowd reaction, as if only Curry and Lillard were the only players on the court. Curry is the hometown star, while Lillard was playing in his hometown.
“I know he loves playing in Oakland,” Curry said of Lillard.
“He wanted his team to win the game and I wanted my team to win the game,” Lillard said. “There for a second it was just, we went at it for a little bit.”
They’ll see each other again, perhaps many times in the future. Indeed, it’s entirely conceivable Curry and Lillard will deliver another installment in the upcoming postseason.