Greatest guard duels in NBA history as Stephen Curry and Kyrie Irving add latest installment

Jay Asser 21:52 28/01/2018
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Allen Iverson was unstoppable in the 2001 Eastern Conference semifinals.

The show put on by Stephen Curry and Kyrie Irving on Sunday, when they combined for 86 points in the Golden State Warriors’ 109-105 win over the Boston Celtics, brought back memories of some of the greatest guard duels in NBA history.

Isaiah Thomas v John Wall, 2017

Thomas etched his name in Boston Celtics lore when he scored 53 points to beat the Washington Wizards 129-119 in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference semifinals last year, hot on the heels of losing his sister to a fatal car crash and one of his front teeth.

His performance was made more impressive by the fact he had to out-duel Wall, who had 40 points himself in a thrilling overtime result.

Chris Paul v Steve Nash, 2008

There’s something special about watching the best point guards control games. Two of the best to ever do it are Paul and Nash, and on February 6, 2008, they put on a floor-general masterclass.

It took two overtime periods for Paul’s New Orleans Hornets to beat Nash’s Phoenix Suns 132-130, with the former filling up the stat line with 42 points, nine assists and eight steals, while the latter had 32 points and 12 helpers.

Kobe Bryant v Gilbert Arenas, 2006

NBA fans were treated to an unforgettable showing by two stars near the height of their powers on December 17, 2006, when the Washington Wizards clashed with the Los Angeles Lakers.

The Staples Centre was accustomed to seeing Bryant top everyone, but on this night they witnessed Gilbert Arenas torch the Lakers for 60 points to edge Bryant’s 45, with Agent Zero dominating overtime for the 147-141 win.

Allen Iverson v Vince Carter, 2001

There were some incredible single-game duels between the two explosive scorers in the 2000-01 season, but their greatest back-and-forth came across multiple contests in the Eastern Conference semifinals.

Iverson delivered 54 points in Game 2, followed by Carter answering with 50 in Game 3 and Iverson again going over the half-century mark with 52 in Game 5. Iverson and the Philadelphia 76ers also got the last laugh by beating Carter and the Toronto Raptors in Game 7.

Bernard King v Isiah Thomas, 1984

In Game 5 of the Eastern Conference first round series between the Detroit Pistons and the New York Knicks, King dropped 44 points while Thomas responded with 31 and 12 assists.

For Thomas, 16 of those points came in the final 90 seconds as he helped bring the Pistons back from a deficit to send the game to overtime. However, King took control in the extra period to lead the Knicks to a 127-123 win.

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