The NBA Finals match two teams that each have a standard-bearer, a player instantly associated with the franchise. Below, we compare and contrast the key stats that LeBron James and Stephen Curry have logged this season and in their careers.
Leading Warriors in scoring from the point
League-leading scorers for teams that get 65 or more wins are usually anyone except point guards.
Curry is the only point guard since Magic Johnson in 1986-87 to lead a 65-win team in scoring.
That season, Johnson won the MVP and the Lakers won the title.
Postseason experience a huge contrast
James is making his fifth consecutive appearance in the NBA Finals and his sixth overall. The Elias Sports Bureau notes that James will be the only player to play in five consecutive Finals since the playoffs expanded to 16 teams in the 1983-84 season. (James Jones is also making his fifth straight Finals appearance but did not play in the 2011 Finals.)
Only Bill Russell (10) and Bob Cousy (seven) had longer streaks of consecutive appearances in the Finals than James before the expansion to 16 teams.
Overall, James has played in 172 postseason games. Curry has played in 34.
James has the head-to-head advantage 5-2. He has averaged 32.6 points per game against the Warriors (since Curry joined the team), and Curry has averaged 20.3 points per game against James’ teams.
Curry became the fourth player in NBA history with 30 points and five assists in each of the first three games of any conference Finals series. He's the first to do so since James in 2009. The other two players are Tim Duncan and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (when he was with the Bucks).
First-time matching up against multiple MVP
This year’s NBA Finals mark the sixth time that that season’s MVP was a first-time winner of the award and reached the NBA Finals opposite a multiple-time MVP.
It hasn't happened since Karl Malone was MVP in 1997 before facing Michael Jordan in the NBA Finals.
Should the Warriors win the title - and ESPN's BPI projects them as 72 percent likely to do so - Curry would become the sixth player to win his first MVP and the NBA championship in the same season.