CHARLOTTE, N.C. — It was a game within the game.
Team LeBron vs. Team Giannis, and Steph Curry vs. Klay Thompson.
Curry and Thompson, fellow Splash Brothers on the Golden State Warriors, went from teammates to rivals Sunday night.
“Yeah, we’re obviously each other’s biggest supporters, but we kind of do it in a fun way,’’ Curry said. “We talk so much trash to each other. … And we almost like get happy when the other one misses. It’s just a weird kind of vibe, but it comes from a good place.’’
After the game, Curry marveled about his two-handed bounce pass that soared into the air and Giannis Antetokounmpo soaring, too, before the Greek Freak caught the ball and dunked it. But it was not his favorite play.
No, the one Curry relished the most was a 3-pointer he hit over Thompson, who was called for the foul. Curry made the free throw to convert the four-point play that Thompson figures to be hearing about for a while.
Curry played for Team Giannis, Klay Thompson played for Team LeBron and the trash talk was on early in Team LeBron’s 178-164 victory.
“From the time he checked in, we were going back and forth,’’ Curry said. “I wanted to guard him every chance I got, and him vice versa. So I feel like any possession I touched the ball with him on me, I was just going to shoot no matter what.
“It worked out in my favor, that possession (with the four-point play.) He feel asleep for a hot second, tried to close out, and I sold the call for sure. Nice to see that one. If I was going to make one shot out of the 23 I took, it had to be that one.’’
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And Thompson had his moment, too, draining a 3-pointer and pointing at Curry, who finished with 17 points on 6-of-23 shooting while Thompson finished had 20 points on 7-of-16 shooting.
“So, yeah, I was yelling at him — I’ll yell at him even when we’re playing for the Warriors and we’re on the same team,’’ Curry said. “I think it’s because we feed off of the competition, and trying to be better than each other at shooting the basketball. So that’ll always kind of be the vibe for sure.’’
Kevin Durant, who as a member of the Golden State Warriors has grown familiar with the Curry-Thompson dynamic, said, “Those guys are always joking around and seeing who can make the most shots. Their chemistry together is second to none. So we know we’re going to be talking about that play, those two plays for the next couple of days.’’
Follow USA TODAY Sports’ Josh Peter on Twitter @joshlpeter11.