Over the last decade-plus, we have watched as Stephen Curry has changed the game of basketball and how it is played. Upon leading the Golden State Warriors to four NBA championships in five seasons, Curry ushered in a new era of basketball centered around elite three-point shooting.
To capture those four NBA championships, Curry and the Warriors had to make their way through some of the biggest names in the game’s history. Much like we covered LeBron James’ and Michael Jordan’s playoff records, we thought it was time to do the same with the greatest shooter in the history of the NBA.
T1. Damian Lillard – 10-0 (3-0 In Playoff Series)
Stephen Curry Playoff Stats vs. Damian Lillard: 33.4 PPG, 6.8 RPG, 7.4 APG, 1.1 SPG, 0.3 BPG
Head To Head Playoff Series:
2016 Western Conference Semifinals: Golden State Warriors vs. Portland Trail Blazers 4-1
2017 Western Conference First Round: Golden State Warriors vs. Portland Trail Blazers 4-0
2019 Western Conference Finals: Golden State Warriors vs. Portland Trail Blazers 4-0
We kick this list off with a few of the players that Stephen Curry had the most playoff success of his career against. Damian Lillard has often been compared to Curry as one of the greatest three-point shooting point guards ever and an elite scoring threat all the same. While playing similarly, the results have been heavily in Curry’s favor, especially when they have met in the playoffs over the years.
Stephen Curry is a perfect 3-0 in playoff series against Lillard’s Portland Trail Blazers. The first time they met was during Golden State’s historic 2016 season in which they won 73 games. The Warriors defeated Portland in the second round of the playoffs that season in five games with Curry averaging 34.5 points per game on 50.0% shooting. The two teams would also meet the next season in the first round of the playoffs. This time, things ended in a sweep with Curry leading the way with 29.8 points per game.
In 2019, Curry and Lillard would meet again with a trip to the NBA finals on the line in the Western Conference Finals. Once again, the Warriors dominated Portland in four games. Lillard did all he could with 22.3 points per game on 37.1% shooting but it was no match for Curry and the Warriors’ offensive attack. Golden State would sweep Portland with Curry averaging 36.5 points per game on 46.9% shooting overall and 42.6% shooting from three.
T1. Pau Gasol – 4-0 (1-0 In Playoff Series)
Stephen Curry Playoff Stats vs. Pau Gasol: 31.5 PPG, 6.0 RPG, 4.8 APG, 3.0 SPG, 0.0 BPG
Head-To-Head Playoff Series:
2017 Western Conference Finals: Golden State Warriors vs. San Antonio Spurs 4-0
While Stephen Curry and Pau Gasol have spent the majority of their careers in the Western Conference, the two stars only met in the NBA playoffs twice. Curry was not yet in the league when Gasol was with the Grizzlies and just a young, budding star when Gasol was winning championships with the Lakers in 2009 and 2010.
The only time these two legends would meet is during the 2017 playoffs when Gasol joined the Spurs later on in his career. Gasol split the series coming off the bench and starting, averaging just 9.5 points and 7.3 rebounds per game in 18.9 minutes of play. The Spurs were no match for the Warriors that season as Golden State went on to sweep San Antonio in four games. Curry led the team in scoring with 31.5 points per game on 56.4% shooting overall and 46.7% shooting from three.
3. Joe Johnson – 7-1 (2-0 In Playoff Series)
Stephen Curry Playoff Stats vs. Joe Johnson: 25.0 PPG, 5.0 RPG, 5.8 APG, 0.9 SPG, 0.8 BPG
Head-To-Head Playoff Series:
2017 Western Conference Semifinals: Golden State Warriors vs. Utah Jazz 4-0
2018 Western Conference Finals: Golden State Warriors vs. Houston Rockets 4-3
Stephen Curry and Joe Johnson also had the peaks of their careers overlap eras. When Johnson was at his true peak with the Hawks and Nets, Curry was still getting acclimated to the NBA. When Curry evolved into an MVP and an ALl-Star, Johnson was just entering the tail end of his career.
These two NBA stars would meet twice in their careers in the NBA playoffs. The first time came when Johnson was with the Utah Jazz for their 2017 playoff run. Johnson started two games and came off the bench for two games, averaging 8.0 points per game in 25 minutes of play. Curry led Golden State to a dominant sweep of Utah with 24.5 points per game on 49.2% shooting.