Trail Blazers

Stephen Curry, Steve Kerr offer high praise for Damian Lillard, Trail Blazers

Trail Blazers

The Golden State Warriors are coming to Portland to take on the Trail Blazers in a pre-All-Star Game clash that should be a whole lot of fun.

And as always, Stephen Curry is looking forward to squaring off against Damian Lillard in a battle of two of the league's top point guards.

Curry discussed facing Lillard during a recent media availability, per Mark Haynes of Clutch Points, and Curry said that Lillard "brings the best out of him."

We talk about it all the time every time this matchup comes up or any other top point guard. For me, it’s always that talent. It always brings the best out of you. We love those types of environments and the opportunity to go back and forth.

Stephen Curry, per Mark Haynes

Curry would go on to say that the competitive nature of his clashes with Lillard have "a good vibe."

"Obviously, we don’t guard each other that much, but we do, and I think even just knowing if either one of our teams is going to win, we have to play well," Curry said. "We understand that’s important. It is another game, but it’s always a good vibe when you go against somebody who plays at such a high level."

Clearly, Curry has respect for Lillard, and it's easy to see why. Lillard has been one of the league's best point guards this season and is averaging 29.6 points, 8.1 assists, and 4.3 rebounds per game and has carried the Blazers to a 19-14 record despite the absences of CJ McCollum (foot) and Jusuf Nurkic (wrist).

Curry isn't the only member of the Warriors to have a great deal of respect for the Blazers. Coach Steve Kerr also spoke highly of Damian Lillard and called him one of "the greatest shooters the league has ever seen."

 

"We know them very well, and the similarity lies in the fact that Steph and Damian are two of the greatest shooters the league has ever seen," Kerr said. "They both extend their range out to the logo, so that changes the way you have to guard us and how you guard Portland."

However, aside from Lillard, Kerr doesn't see a lot of similarities between the Warriors and the Blazers, and called each team "unique."

"Other than that, I don’t see a ton of similarities. We’ve seen them a lot over the years. They have a pretty unique style," Kerr said. "I really have a lot of respect for Terry [Stotts] and the way they play, and obviously we're pretty unique as well, but we're built differently beyond those superstar point guards."

And with McCollum and Nurkic out, the Blazers are going to have even more of a unique lineup than the last time they faced off against the Warriors on Jan. 3.

The Blazers and Warriors split a two-game series earlier this season. In those contests, Lillard averaged 33 points per game while Curry averaged a whopping 44 thanks to a 62-point outburst in the second game.

There should be more offensive fireworks in Portland tonight as the duo of top-tier point guards go head-to-head and try to earn their teams critical wins ahead of the All-Star break.