True rivalries are scarce in today's NBA, but there is a brewing back-and-forth duel between the Warriors and Clippers in the Western Conference, with two North Carolina-bred point guards, Stephen Curry and Chris Paul, leading the charge and upping the ante with each crossover.
Look back on their competition, and you'll see that Paul, who is rarely ever duped, can't help but bite on Curry's moves. The rare combination of sharp shooting and ballhandling wizardy makes Curry a problem for any defender, even Paul, one of the league's premier defenders. This was on display in the Warriors' 110–106 win against the Clippers on Monday night, when Curry pulled off one of his fiercest crossovers yet.
In honor of Curry's crippling crossover of Paul, SI.com rounded up the Warriors star's top-five plays against the Clippers, and there were plenty to choose from:
1. March 8, 2015
Curry challenged his own lofty standards with this play, as he took on four Clippers with an array of fancy moves, slicing through defenders and back to the three-point line with an unfair ease in the Warriors' home win.
2. March 31, 2015
The most recent highlight is arguably the most impressive. Curry pulled off this tough double behind-the-back crossover—a move made popular by the Clippers' Jamal Crawford—that stripped Paul of his balance and knocked down a short corner shot. Paul was rendered helpless in a way we've never witnessed.
3. December 25, 2014
So much of what makes a good defender is his ability to anticipate and thwart opponents' offensive intentions. Paul is a master at this, but Curry has perfected the ability to counter the defense's initial read. He provided an example against Paul on Christmas Day by faking the left-hand drive and throwing the ball behind his back. With the Clippers' last line of defense forced to react, he found an open Marreese Speights.
(Plays begins at :50 second mark)
4. May 15, 2014
While NBA officials often swallow their whistles when jump shooters kick out their legs to draw fouls, a select few still know how to use slight contact to their advantage. As one of the league's best outside shooters, Curry was given the benefit of the doubt in a Game 7 loss to the Clippers in the 2014 NBA Playoffs.
5. March 8, 2015 (again!)
Curry had Paul's number on this day. Due to his ability to shoot from almost anywhere on the floor, Curry is always a threat to pull up and cash in. Paul is aware of this and reacts accordingly, but he is foiled yet again, with Curry faking the shot and sending the Clippers guard flying. Curry then calmly steps in and drains a midrange jumper.