Steph vs LeBron: A Breakdown of Curry and James’ Past Playoff Matchups

Steph vs LeBron: A Breakdown of Curry and James’ Past Playoff Matchups

Joel Reyes
May 2, 2023 at 11:20 AM
  • Steph Curry and LeBron James faced off in the NBA Finals from 2015 to 2018
  • Curry’s Golden State Warriors won the championship in 2015, 2017 and 2018
  • James’ Cavaliers won the title in 2016, coming back from a 3-1 series deficit 

Steph Curry and LeBron James are undoubtedly the two biggest stars in the NBA right now.

They have faced each other numerous times in the NBA Finals, contesting the championship from 2015 to 2018 in the Golden State versus Cleveland wars.

They will renew their playoff rivalry in this year’s Western Conference Semifinals, with James’ Lakers locking horns with Curry’s Warriors.

LeBron James, Steph Curry, Los Angeles Lakers, Golden State Warriors, Cleveland Cavaliers, NBA, NBA Playoffs, Klay Thompson, Draymond Green, Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving, Kevin Love
LeBron James of the Los Angeles Lakers speaks to Stephen Curry of the Golden State Warriors during their game at Chase Center on October 18, 2022 in San Francisco, California. Image: Ezra Shaw
Source: Getty Images

Sports Brief looks at their previous playoff meetings ahead of the Lakers vs Warriors clash.

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2015 NBA Finals (Curry wins) 

Their first playoff meeting happened in 2015 when the Cleveland Cavaliers and the Golden State Warriors squared off in the NBA Finals.

James entered the series with a 2-0 lead against Curry in championships won.

LeBron tried his hardest to carry the Cavs, who were without the injured Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love. Such was his brilliance that he managed to power the shorthanded Cavaliers to a 2-1 lead in the series.

The Warriors battled back, winning the last three games to capture the title. Curry averaged 26.0 points, 6.3 assists, and 5.2 rebounds per game in his maiden Finals appearance.

James was a beast for the losing side, averaging 35.8 points, 13.3 rebounds, and 8.8 assists per game in the Finals, per Bleacher Report. He averaged 45.7 minutes per contest in the championship series.

2016 NBA Finals (LeBron wins)

Momentum was with the Warriors heading into the 2016 NBA Finals. They won a record 73 games in the regular season and overcame a 3-1 deficit to beat the Oklahoma City Thunder in the Western Conference Finals.

The Warriors looked like they were on their way to their second consecutive title after storming to a 3-1 lead against the Cavs in the Finals. LeBron and Cleveland had other ideas, though, as they pulled off the most remarkable comeback in playoff history.

They won the last three games to give the Cavaliers their first-ever NBA championship.

The victory wouldn’t have been possible without James. He averaged 36.3 points, 11.7 rebounds, and 9.7 assists in the last three games to stun the defending champs.

Curry averaged 22.6 points, 4.9 rebounds, and 3.7 assists per game in the Finals. He struggled in Game 7, recording 17 points, five rebounds, two assists, and four turnovers in the winner-take-all contest.

2017 NBA Finals (Curry wins)

The Cavs and the Warriors met for the third straight time in the NBA Finals in 2017.

Golden State added another weapon to its star-studded lineup, signing Kevin Durant following the Warriors’ epic collapse in the 2016 Finals.

There was no stopping Curry and co. in the first three rounds of the 2017 Playoffs, recording four-game sweeps against Portland, Utah, and San Antonio.

They continued their strong play in the Finals, building a 3-0 lead against the Cavs. Cleveland extended the series with a Game 4 win, which only delayed the inevitable.

Golden State regained the championship with a 129-120 victory in Game 5, handing Curry his second career title. He averaged 26.8 points, 9.4 assists, and 8.0 rebounds per game in the Finals.

James again put up monster numbers, averaging a triple-double with 33.6 points, 12.0 rebounds, and 10.0 assists in the championship series.

2018 NBA Finals (Curry wins)

The Warriors and the Cavs forged another title showdown in 2018. This was James’ eighth consecutive NBA Finals appearance.

Unfortunately for LeBron, he again fell short in his bid to win the championship. The Cavs came close to recording an upset win in Game 1 but ultimately lost that contest in overtime.

James scored 51 points in the series opener, the highest point total in a Finals loss. He was so frustrated with the defeat that he punched a whiteboard in Cleveland’s locker room after the game, resulting in a bone contusion in his hand.

That injury doomed Cleveland’s chances, with Golden State recording a four-game sweep.

Curry averaged 27.5 points, 6.8 assists, and 6.0 rebounds per game in the Finals. James still put up incredible numbers in the Finals despite carrying a hand injury, averaging 34.0 points, 10.0 assists, and 8.5 rebounds per game.

2021 NBA Play-In Game (LeBron wins)

The Warriors and the Lakers squared off in the 2021 NBA Play-In Game to determine who would be the seventh seed in the Western Conference.

James led the Lakers in the 103-100 win, registering a triple-double with 22 points, 11 rebounds, and 10 assists.

Curry was superb for the Warriors in that contest, finishing with 37 points, seven rebounds, and three assists.

Curry’s best playoff performances

Sports Brief recently reported on the best playoff games of Curry for the Warriors.

Leading the list is his iconic 50-point display in Game 7 versus the Sacramento Kings.

That impressive performance is the most points he’s ever had in a postseason game.

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Joel Reyes
Joel Reyes is a sports editor at with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalism from the University of the Philippines. He has eight years of work experience in sports writing.