Golden State Warriors

Warriors’ Steph Curry responds to MVP praise from Lakers’ LeBron James

Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry is used to waiting to hear if he’s won the NBA MVP Award — he’s won it twice in his career already. This season, however, the story plot is vastly different than superhero championship runs of years past.

The reason? While Curry is indeed an MVP candidate, the Warriors finished eighth in the Western Conference and will play in the new NBA Play-In Tournament. Unbelievably, Curry and the Warriors first face LeBron James and the Lakers on Wednesday, and adding to the plot, James just touted Curry as deserving MVP.

Curry is a popular choice for those that don’t vote, but most would agree that Nuggets center Nikola Jokić is more deserving and will probably win. Was James playing mind games with Curry?

Regardless, Curry has been in the NBA for more than a decade now and faced James multiple times, on the court and in some ways through the media. He knows that much is said in the NBA off the floor, for many different reasons. He told reporters on Tuesday that when the game starts, it’s time to throw all of those words out the window.

“When [James] says something, people pay attention. So for him to speak on my MVP candidacy, I respect him for it. I appreciate it,” Curry said.

“We all know as competitors though, when the lights are on, I could talk about how great he is until I’m blue in the face and he could do the same — it doesn’t change how we approach that competition. I won’t be giving him a pass because he likes the way I play this year, and vice versa.

“Its great for the entertainment value of what we do. I kind of love the chatter because its hilarious and awesome at the same time. But it’ll make for a good show tomorrow.”

Warriors guard Stephen Curry

It will definitely be a show, as Curry predicts. This game is a bonanza for the NBA, with two of the league’s top superstars facing off in its new play-in tournament. The Warriors faced James and his former team, the Cavaliers, four straight times in the NBA Finals, from 2015-18, and this latest chapter between the two is fascinating.

After all this time, Curry knows not to get caught up in the hoopla, though he’s obviously aware of it. Still, the formula is clear, as he said. It’s all business on the court. On Wednesday, both James and Curry will be gunning for each other and their opposing teams, regardless of past or recent compliments or warm regards — just as NBA fans ultimately demand more than anything.

(Photo credit: Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports)

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