November 20, 2015 / 8:39 AM / 3 years ago

Curry too hot for Paul in spicy Californian rivalry

(Reuters) - Golden State talisman Stephen Curry continues to steal the spotlight from Los Angeles Clippers point guard Chris Paul, consistently leaving his rival in his wake as he climbs toward the top rung of the NBA ladder.

Nov 19, 2015; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry (30) drives to the basket past Los Angeles Clippers guard Chris Paul (3) in the first half of the game at Staples Center. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

Curry, the league’s reigning MVP, has surpassed Paul as the best point guard in the league and he is driving that message home in every match-up between the two All Stars.

Curry poured in 40 points in Golden State’s 124-117 victory over the Clippers on Thursday, providing another signature night against Paul. He has become the toast of basketball at Paul’s expense as the Warriors (13-0) are now two wins away from tying the best start to a season in NBA history.

“I hold myself to a high standard and my team mates hold me to that standard,” Curry told reporters after leading the rally from a 23-point deficit to overcome the Clippers.

“We’re a confident basketball team.”

Curry is steadily building confidence against Paul and the recent results between them are a reversal of their original roles as the 30-year-old Paul began as a mentor to his 27-year-old adversary.

With both players growing up in North Carolina, they developed a relationship when Curry was just a college prospect and he even stayed at Paul’s home for a month prior to entering the NBA.

As Paul racked up All-Star Game appearances and notoriety, Curry’s Warriors slowly evolved into the Clippers’ main rivals.

Physical skirmishes and verbal barbs have been exchanged between the teams and Los Angeles defeated the Warriors in a memorable seven-game playoff series in 2014.

However, Curry and Golden State definitively took the mantle from Paul last season when they won 67 games in the regular season and stormed to the NBA title.

During last year’s meetings between the guards, Curry dominated Paul and delivered one behind-the-back move that left his rival tied up in knots — an image that lives on in highlight reels.

This campaign has followed a similar script with Curry twice providing late shots that helped the Warriors record comeback wins in two meetings with Los Angeles.

Paul fought valiantly through a groin injury on Thursday, making his first seven shots and finishing with 35 points, but the Clippers lost a big lead and he was yet again reduced to second billing.

“We know we’re close,” Clippers coach Doc Rivers told reporters. “But close isn’t good enough.”

Writing by Jahmal Corner in Los Angeles; Editing by John O'Brien

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