DeRozan, Harden friendly ri­vals

Spurs guard con­sid­ers Rock­ets guard ‘fam­ily’

San Antonio Express-News - - SPORTS - By Tom Ors­born

DeMar DeRozan and James Harden go way back.

“I re­mem­ber when he didn’t have a beard,” DeRozan said.

Or even peach fuzz.

Born 19 days apart in Au­gust 1989 in Los An­ge­les, DeRozan and Harden grew up to­gether as ri­vals on the court but close friends off it.

“I con­sider him fam­ily.” DeRozan said. Satur­day’s 7:30 p.m. game be­tween the Spurs and the Rock­ets at the AT&T Cen­ter will mark the first reg­u­lar-sea­son meet­ing this year be­tween the In­ter­state 10 ri­vals.

It will also serve as a re­minder to DeRozan and Harden of how far they’ve come.

“To see where he is to­day, where I am to­day, we al­ways talk about it,” DeRozan said. “It’s def­i­nitely amaz­ing to see how far we have come when we thought we wouldn’t have any­thing.”

Said Harden: “It’s cool. We’re right at the top of the dream we’ve been try­ing to chase since we were lit­tle.”

It didn’t take long for Harden to reach out to DeRozan af­ter the Toronto Rap­tors traded him to the Spurs in July in the Kawhi Leonard block­buster.

It was a tough time for DeRozan, who wanted to stay in Toronto and had been led

by Rap­tors man­age­ment to be­lieve that would be the case. But there was at least one pos­i­tive as­pect to the deal that DeRozan rec­og­nized: It en­sured that he and Harden would have the op­por­tu­nity to face each other more than twice a sea­son.

It’s a boon for the two friends, who first squared off on the play­grounds of Comp­ton just south of down­town L.A. be­fore du­el­ing in the Pac-10 Con­fer­ence (now the Pac-12), with DeRozan at South­ern Cal and Harden at Ari­zona State. The Tro­jans top­pled the Sun Devils 66-63 in the 2009 con­fer­ence tour­na­ment, with DeRozan outscor­ing Harden 25-10.

“When­ever I get a chance to go up against him, that’s al­ways one of those mem­o­rable mo­ments be­cause of just know­ing where we came from and where we are at now,” DeRozan said. “It’s al­ways fun.”

Adding spice to Satur­day’s en­counter is both teams des­per­ately need a win.

The Spurs (6-4) have lost two

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.