Gregg Popovich will have his hands full in February’s road trip, as the San Antonio Spurs will have five games against teams that made the Western Conference playoffs last season.
The San Antonio Spurs released their regular season schedule for the 2019-20 season on Monday and it features an eight-game road trip that could shape out to be the toughest the team has ever faced.
The annual trip, coined as the Rodeo Road Trip by the organization, has been taking place since 2003, coinciding with the opening of the AT&T Center. Since then, the trip has consisted of between six and nine consecutive road games every February.
Before we take a look back at past rodeo road trips, let’s see what’s scheduled for the silver and black this season:
Monday, February 3 at 9:30 PM – @ Los Angeles ClippersTuesday, February 4 at 9:30 PM – @ Los Angeles LakersThursday, February 6 at 9:00 PM – @ Portland TrailblazersSaturday, February 8 at 9:00 PM – @ Sacramento KingsMonday, February 10 at 8:00 PM – @ Denver NuggetsTuesday, February 11 at 7:00 PM – @ Oklahoma City ThunderFriday, February 21 at 8:00 PM – @ Utah JazzSunday, February 23 at 6:00 PM – @ Oklahoma City Thunder
Beginning February 3rd, the squad will take trips to five cities in nine days before wrapping up the road trip with two more road games after the NBA All-Star break. Of the seven opponents San Antonio will be facing on the trip, five made the playoffs last season including the Oklahoma City Thunder, who will host the Spurs twice in that stretch.
With 17 seasons of Rodeo Road Trips to sift through, there is plenty of data available to help determine how this season’s trip stacks up against the days of Tim, Tony, and Manu. For the purposes of determining the difficulty of schedule, we’ll be looking at the quality of opponents the Spurs have faced over the years on their annual expeditions.
On six separate occasions, San Antonio has faced a playoff-bound team at least five times in one trip. Last season was one of those years, as the Spurs recorded a disappointing 1-7 record while facing five teams that would ultimately make the playoffs.
Breaking this number down even further, Popovich and company have had to face six playoff-bound teams in one trip two times (2003 and 2008) and an astounding eight playoff-bound teams in 2007. Since the 2019-20 season is yet to be played out, there’s no way of knowing the number of playoff-bound teams the Spurs will be facing on their upcoming trip; however, using last year’s playoff seeds would put the number at six: The Clippers, Blazers, Nuggets, Jazz and Thunder twice.
Who’s hitting their win total?
— B/R Betting (@br_betting) July 25, 2019
If going by Vegas odds as released by B/R Betting’s Twitter in July, the projected number of playoff-bound opponents would be five: The Clippers, Lakers, Trail Blazers, Nuggets and Jazz.
While the upcoming rodeo road trip is daunting, it is not the toughest Gregg Popovich has faced and is certainly not an impossible task. The 2007 squad, as mentioned, hit the road for eight games, all of which were against teams that would make the playoffs. They would go 4-4 on that trip, and eventually go on to win the NBA Championship.
Of the 17 seasons the San Antonio Spurs have had the Rodeo Road Trip, they have finished with a winning trip record an impressive 12 times. The team also finished with a split record twice and a losing record three times, including the past two seasons.
The Spurs will look to change their recent road misfortune when the San Antonio Stock Show and Rodeo takes them away once again this February. While it may be a tall order, one thing is certain: it’s never smart to count this team out.