Few things are more entertaining than a fired-up, trash-talking Stephen Curry. And few players inspire that sort of antagonism like the perpetually second-best Chris Paul.
On Monday night, Curry drove through Paul and got an and-one layup.
“This ain’t 2014 no more,” Curry said, clearly directing those comments at Paul.
But why 2014? What’s the significance?
Draymond Green explained in his latest podcast.
“If you read his lips, he got up and he said, ‘This ain’t 2014 no more.’ And I appreciated the bar by Steph Curry,” Green said. “Because you gotta dig into that comment. That’s pretty much saying the last time you were better than me was 2014. That’s nine years ago. This hasn’t been a debate since 2014, nine years ago? That’s a decade. That’s a bar.”
The 2014 playoffs were the last time a Paul team beat the Warriors. Paul’s Los Angeles Clippers lost in the next round to the eventual NBA Champion San Antonio Spurs.
The next year? The Warriors beat the Cleveland Cavaliers in the Finals. Paul is still, very visibly, ring-less. He’ll likely need Kevin Durant to carry him and a talented Suns team to a championship if he’s to avoid the fate of being perpetually ringless.
Paul, for his part, said he didn’t know of something significant that 2014 represented in this more than two-minute-long clip.
Monday was the fourth final regular season game between the Warriors and Suns this season and ensured that Golden State avoided the season sweep with a 125-132 win.
If the current standings hold, though, the fifth-seeded Warriors will face the fourth-seeded Suns in the first round of the playoffs, which, if both teams are at full strength (see: Durant and Andrew Wiggins) would be one of the greatest first-round matchups in league history.