Bulls' DeMar DeRozan facing familiar foe in Bucks' Jrue Holiday

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DeRozan facing familiar foe in Bucks' Holiday originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago

MILWAUKEE — If it looks like Jrue Holiday guards DeMar DeRozan like he has known his game for awhile, it's because he has.

"We basically grew up together playing against each other — AAU basketball, through high school, college," DeRozan said following the Chicago Bulls' morning shootaround at Fiserv Forum in advance of their Game 2 against Holiday's Bucks. "I knew his family. He knew my family. We go way back."

Indeed, from high school battles between DeRozan's Compton (Calif.) High School and Holiday's Campbell High in Studio City to their one shared year as crosstown rivals at USC and UCLA to the same 2009 draft class, DeRozan and Holiday are inextricably linked. Holiday once told SBNation he remembered being in the gym when DeRozan first dunked as a 6th grader.

"Every time we played against each other, it was memorable," DeRozan said. "In high school, we played against each other multiple times in tournaments. Jrue was always one of my favorite players to compete against. Obviously, we played against each other in college. We go way back to (age) 11 and 12 for sure."

Holiday, an Olympic teammate of Zach LaVine's this past offseason, is known as one of the NBA's premier perimeter defenders. Though Wes Matthews started against DeRozan in Sunday's Game 1, Holiday has — and will — shift over to check his longtime friend occasionally. Holiday's primary assignment in Game 1 was LaVine.

With Holiday as his primary defender this season, DeRozan has shot 39 percent in five games.

"The same way he is now, he was like that when we were 12 years old," DeRozan said. "Some people are just gifted with the ability to have awareness, quickness, a feel, anticipation. All those things he shows now, he’s always had that."

Holiday is known for his stoic professionalism. He's not flashy. He's just frustrating because he always seems to be in the right place at the right time.

"He don’t talk much," DeRozan said. "He just goes out there and do whatever he needs to do to compete. That’s just who he is."'

DeRozan would know.

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