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April 17, 2013; Portland, OR, USA; Portland Trail Blazers point guard Damian Lillard (0) dribbles past Golden State Warriors point guard Stephen Curry (30) in the first half at the Rose Garden. Mandatory Credit: Jaime Valdez-USA TODAY Sports

Curry, Lillard Have A Lot in Common

Going back to their high school days, Stephen Curry and Damian Lillard have had a lot in common.

At Charlotte Christian School in North Carolina, Curry was named All-State, All-Conference and led his team to three straight conference titles and three state playoff appearances. Lillard attended St. Joseph Notre Dame High School in Alameda, California, a school that produced former NBA point guard Jason Kidd. Lillard was first-team all conference as a junior and senior averaging 19.4 points in his junior campaign and 22.4 points in his senior league.

Both, though were not highly recruited by major conference programs. Curry wanted to  play at Virginia Tech, his father Dell’s alma mater, but they offered him only a walk-on opportunity. Instead Curry settled on Davidson where his career took off. Lillard went to Weber State and after four successful seasons with the Wildcats, Lillard, much like Curry, was a top NBA prospect.

Now, both guards have emerged as two of the best in the entire league.

Both are key cogs in their team’s machines. Lillard is third in the NBA with 87.3 touches per game. Curry is not far behind with an average of 86.2 touches per game. Curry, 25, has upped his scoring numbers to 23.4 points per game, which is better than Lillard’s 21.0 per game. Lillard, 23, also  averages 5.7 assists per game, which is less then Curry’s 9.3 assists per game. Curry’s 9.3 assists per game is good enough for second  best in the entire league.

Both are excellent pull-up jump shooters. Everyone with two eyes knows that Curry can shoot from any where on the floor, but Lillard can shoot almost as well as the Davidson product. He averages a 41.1 percent shooting percentage on pull-up three pointers which is actually better then Curry from that catagory.

This shot chart below is of Lillard’s season, not Curry’s.

Lillard Chart

Lillard’s shooting percentages are above average from every location on the perimeter and his 47.13 shooting percentage from the right side of the arc is especially impressive.

Both Lillard and Curry and dominat running the pick-and-roll. As a ball handler, Lillard averages 0.91 points per possession every time his Blazers run pick-and-roll which they do 41.3 percent of the time.

Often times, Lillard uses a screen and merely curls off of it and settles for a mid-range jumper.

Watch the clip above as Lillard uses a  Robin Lopez screen, curls off of it and settles for a pull-up jump shot.  Lillard loves to take that midrange jumper off the screen far more than Curry does.

Now watch this pick-and-roll play run by Curry and his Warriors:

Curry uses a David Lee screen to draw all five Timberwolves players’ attention. Wolves shooting guard Kevin Martin has to make a decision whether to stop Curry’s drive or prevent Curry’s pass to Andre Iguodala on the wing. In this play, Martin chooses to prevent the pass to Iguodala, which allows Curry to easily attack the basket and hit a floater.

Both Curry and Lillard are not great defenders for their position, but the supporting cast behind them makes up for the defensive struggles that both guards occasionally have.

The Blazers beat the Warriors in San Francisco back in late November, and Sunday night when the Blazers again visit the Bay Area, Curry will look to get revenge on Lillard and his squad. Be prepared for a lot of highlights, because both point guards will surely put on a show.

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Tags: Damian Lillard Golden State Warriors Stephen Curry

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