The home-court advantage that the Spurs have long enjoyed has completely abandoned them this year as they struggle to string together wins in front of a friendly crowd.
The year was 2015, the San Antonio Spurs were rampaging through the NBA on their way to a franchise-best 67 regular-season wins. The most striking thing about that year’s team was the utter dominance that they enjoyed in the comforts of the AT&T Center. That year the Spurs lost just one regular-season game at home.
Fast forward four years and the Spurs are in the midst of their most trying season of the past two decades. One thing that has been particularly noticeable has been their lackluster performance at home. San Antonio used to regularly run opposing teams off of their home court. This year they’re losing to bottom dwellers that they couldn’t have imagined dropping games at home to just years ago.
The Spurs are currently 12-11 at home this season with some truly head-scratching losses. It’s baffling that this team can knock off impressive teams like the Milwaukee Bucks and Houston Rockets but then lose to teams like the Atlanta Hawks and Cleveland Cavaliers, all on the home court that they have defended so well for previous years.
It all comes down to consistency. I don’t know how many times we can touch on this but holy cow, is this team capable of stringing together 48 minutes of solid basketball or not? They don’t have to go on a seven-game win streak, just play 48 minutes of good, consistent basketball and things will get better. Last night was a perfect example of how things can suddenly turn ice cold for the Spurs.
Spurs trail 56-44 at the half after being outscored 34-16 in the 2Q. The 16 points ties a season low for points in a quarter. It happened last on Dec. 14 in Mexico City, also against Phoenix, a game the Spurs went on to win 121-119 in overtime.
— Tom Orsborn (@tom_orsborn) January 25, 2020
The Spurs had a nine-point lead with just under 11 minutes left to go in the first half and then all of a sudden they just….forgot how to play basketball? They couldn’t buy a bucket. It’s incredibly frustrating to see a team that clearly has the building blocks of something going fall apart time after time.
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Making the playoffs isn’t out of the question for San Antonio. After their loss last night they’re back on the outside looking in, but only by a half-game. But with the ever difficult Rodeo Road Trip coming up in February it’s crucial that the Spurs pull it together and start defending home court as they have done in years past.
This year’s Rodeo Road Trip is going to be absolutely brutal for San Antonio. They face a Murder’s Row of championship contenders in their near month-long trip around the Western Conference. They face both Los Angeles teams, the Denver Nuggets, Utah Jazz, Oklahoma City Thunder (twice), and get only slightly less difficult matchups with the Portland Trail Blazers and Sacramento Kings to break up the trip.
I don’t want to be overly pessimistic but right now it seems like they’ll come out of the eight-game road trip with a 3-5 record at best. They’re 8-13 on the road so forgive me if I’m not overly optimistic about their chances of taking down some of the best teams in the league while on the road.
The San Antonio Spurs already slim chances of making the playoffs will all but disappear if they can’t start defending home court. They’ve got 38 games to pull it together, let’s see if they can make it happen.