Russillo believes Steph-Lillard rivalry ‘worse for Dame’ originally appeared on NBC Sports Bayarea
Even before Damian Lillard stepped on the court in Sunday’s NBA All-Star Game, cameras would pan to him on the bench for his reaction following big shots from Stephen Curry.
The two guards have battled 33 times over their careers but took the floor as teammates for Team LeBron on Sunday, one-upping each other with some ridiculous long-range shots.
Despite the two stars showing a friendly rapport, Ryen Russillo and Bill Simmons dissected the rivalry between Curry and Lillard on a recent episode of the Bill Simmons podcast.
“It’s got to be way worse for Dame,” Russillo said. “I don’t know how much of it is social media or what, but I’m sure there’s not a moment where Dame Lillard thinks that Steph Curry is better than him. I have never once thought that Lillard was better than Steph Curry.”
Dame wouldn’t be Dame if he thought he was the Curry Lite. Of course he thinks he’s better than Curry, that’s why he’s in the NBA. Even though Curry has gone 25-8 against Lillard lifetime, including 10-0 in the playoffs, you know Lillard isn’t entering any Golden State matchup thinking he’s the second-best point guard on the floor.
The two went tit for tat to end the first half of the All-Star Game, when Lillard first pulled up from beyond the halfcourt line before Curry launched one from a similar spot on the floor.
Simmons said he felt like there was some carry over from their matchup last Wednesday, when Curry dropped 35 but Lillard scored 22 and came through clutch in a 108-106 Portland Trail Blazers victory.
“They were high-fiving each other at the end of the first half, a lot of that stuff,” Simmons said. “But it’s still a rivalry, I’m sorry. Those guys are on each other’s corner, there’s no question. … Steph and Dame, though. It did seem a little territorial.”
For what it’s worth, Curry appeared to enjoy Lillard’s halfcourt All-Star Game dagger, celebrating before Lillard even hoisted the shot.
“We didn’t choreograph that at all,” Curry told reporters after the game. “As soon as he got the ball, I’m starting the celebration before he even shoots. Same with me. Just feeling the game out and taking shots we think we can make, we know we can make but we’re just trying stuff.”
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There are certainly similarities between the two players, who have the same position and lead their respective Western Conference teams with stylish and clutch performances. But as Simmons said, Curry has the ultimate “trump card” with his three NBA championships.
Until Lillard can top Curry when it matters most in the playoffs, this “rivalry” talk is just fodder for us media folk.
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