Stephen Curry believes opponents play harder against the Golden State Warriors due to their past success, with LeBron James' Los Angeles Lakers getting the better of them on Sunday.
Prior to a 2019-20 campaign that was wrecked by injuries, the Warriors had reached the NBA Finals in five consecutive seasons.
On four of those occasions they met James, then with the Cleveland Cavaliers, and won three titles. Golden State swept the Cavs in 2017-18 shortly before James left for the Lakers.
James and LA made the most of Golden State's tough year last time out as they claimed the championship - the four-time MVP's fourth ring - but Curry believes there is still tension when the Warriors meet their old foe.
A threat again as Curry averages 29.5 points per game - fourth-most in the league - Golden State fell to 19-16 and eighth in the West with a 117-91 defeat to the Lakers.
Curry scored only 16 points, by far his lowest return in the whole of February, while LA were already 20 points clear after a first quarter in which the Warriors shot 8-of-22 from the field and 2-of-11 from three as their opponents went to the free-throw line 16 times.
The superstar guard suggested the Lakers were motivated to beat Golden State, but he also acknowledged his team had to show more.
Curry said: "Draymond [Green] said it a little bit at halftime - we have to remember, even when we're playing well, when we've won three in a row, teams still want to beat us and beat us bad.
"They still have a lot of memories from the last five, six years.
"A lot of that is that you have to - against the really good teams, with the discipline that separates a good team from a great team - show up.
"We've done a great job of not fouling teams, and then you get the best defense in the league set with possessions and easy points. They thrived off that and they brought a bit more energy in the first quarter.
"Those little things that we can control - we can't control makes and misses every night - you can control being defensively smart, not fouling, you can control your energy and your effort and your competitiveness.
"We've done a really good job of that and then tonight we didn't have any of it, and it shows in the score."