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October 23, 2018 | 3:04 pm EDT Update
If​ only​ for​ a night, DeMar DeRozan had his revenge. His​ San Antonio​ Spurs​ had survived​ against​ LeBron​​ James’ Lakers, leaving the Staples Center crowd morose when their new superstar came up short at the end. …. No wonder the 29-year-old DeRozan was wearing a smile on his way out of the Staples Center. This was nothing like those battles they’d shared in the past three years, when LeBron’s Cleveland Cavaliers knocked DeRozan’s Raptors out three times (twice in the second round, once in the conference finals) and swept them twice during his reign of Eastern Conference terror. But for DeRozan, the Compton native who was so hurt by that mid-July trade in which he swapped spots with Kawhi Leonard, this 32-point, 14-assist, eight-rebound outing was the latest sign that he’s getting comfortable in this new setting.
“Yeah, it was definitely a change (to play James in a Spurs jersey and see him in a Lakers jersey), especially with the battles we’ve had, from the Eastern Conference Finals to the playoffs, the ups and downs and everything,” DeRozan, who was drafted by the Raptors in 2009 out of USC, told The Athletic as he walked out in his red Trojans sweatshirt. “It definitely was one of them (games) where it was awkward, but it was fun at the same time.”
The bragging rights won’t last long, as the Lakers visit San Antonio on Saturday and will conclude all four of their regular season matchups by Dec. 7. Still, DeRozan knows as well as anyone that any win over LeBron is to be cherished – especially in front of his hometown crowd. “It is (weird), because I’ve known ‘Bron since I was in high school (at nearby Compton High),” DeRozan said. “So whenever we get a chance to talk here and there about some things, especially like something tonight, we do. We brought up (their team changes). I asked him how he was doing out here, how he likes it (in LA), and vice versa.“We’re going to see a lot more of each other. I guess we can’t separate from one another.”
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