Warriors' top five most despised opponents over last 10 years
No. 5: Chris Paul
Whether as a member of the Clippers, the Rockets or the Thunder, Paul has exhibited a variety of tendencies that get under the skin of Warriors fans, beginning with his frequent complaining to officials.
What makes this particularly galling as the way he historically defends Stephen Curry. Though CP3 has been on the All-Defensive team nine times, his defense of Curry is textbook deception of officials. There is a lot of jersey-grabbing. And flopping. And hip-checking.
This conduct was under the microscope during the five-year blood feud between the Warriors and Clippers and remained when CP3 went to Houston. Since 2013-14, Curry’s Warriors are 2-1 against Paul’s teams in the playoffs and 15-8 in the regular season.
No video clip is more enjoyed by Dub Nation that of Curry dribbling Paul onto the floor in 2015, except maybe that with Curry mocking Paul – “Kick me off the court again, boyy” – after burying the Rockets in the Western Conference semifinals in 2019.
No. 4: Patrick Beverley
Beverley doesn’t have Paul’s clever tricks, so he doesn’t bother trying. His defense on Curry – and any other Warrior, as Kevin Durant discovered in the 2019 playoffs – is utterly devoid of subtlety. Beverley bangs and bumps and clutches and doesn’t care who sees it.
He keeps at it until he hears multiple whistles, or his man has a physical response. Both Curry and Durant have responded and drawn technical fouls; KD was goaded into a double ejection.
Beverley’s mortal sin, though, was prodding Curry into a shoving exchange and then squaring up as he wanted more. When someone messes with Steph, Dub Nation reaches for weapons.
No. 3: James Harden
This goes back to 2015, when Curry won his first MVP award, with James Harden finishing second. The Houston star voiced his disagreement.
“I know I was the MVP,” he told NBA.com. “That’s 100 percent, given all the things that happened last season.”
That flame of hatred was visible when the Warriors and Rockets met in the 2015 Western Conference Finals. It never went away, even as the Warriors won in five. It was there two months later, when players voted Harden MVP over Curry.
There has been hostility ever since, even though 2015 was the first of Golden State’s four postseason triumphs in five seasons over the Rockets. Add the general disdain for Harden’s ref-baiting and general style of play, Dub Nation relishes sending him into the offseason.
No. 2: Russell Westbrook
If you think it’s surprising that Russ is No. 2, you’re not paying attention to how he so casually slings shade toward the Warriors in general, Curry and Durant (as a Warrior) in particular.
“Who is he?” Westbrook said of Curry in 2017, despite Steph owning back-to-back MVP awards. This was a year after Russ giggled when asked about Curry’s defense.
By turns petty and salty, and occasionally both, Russ also came after his former OKC teammate once KD left for the Warriors. Westbrook several times wore clothing that mocked KD.
The capper, though, was the time Thunder reserve Semaj Christon and Curry engaged in a mini-skirmish before a jump ball – and Russ came diving in to shove Steph. It was as if all of Westbrook’s simmering envy of Curry came bubbling to the surface.
Westbrook is a competitive beast. He also is among the most despised opponents in the NBA. Warriors fans relish seeing him lose his cool when defeated by someone he believes is inferior.
No. 1: LeBron James
The man who refers to himself as “The King” has to know he’ll never be forgiven for trolling thje Warriors in 2016 with tombstone cookies.
Less than five months after the Cavaliers defeated the Warriors in The Finals, James hosted a Halloween party. On one table were headstone-shape cookies with gray icing, one with Klay Thompson’s name and the other with Curry’s name. On both were printed “2015-2016,” dates pointing out the one-year reign of the Warriors.
The Warriors came back to beat Cleveland in 2017 and again in 2018. They won three of four battles. No matter. LeBron is a big target that gloated a bit too much and, therefore, will always be the eternal enemy of Dub Nation.
Between the cookies and a couple highly visible on-court disputes with Curry, LeBron surely knows that he earned his spot atop this list.
Anyone eager to crack the top 5 list of Dub Nation enemies should know there is an easy path. Come at Steph.