With the Rodeo Road Trip just around the corner, the Spurs continue to struggle and can’t seem to get over the hump. The Spurs are only 8-8 in January and went 2-4 in their recent home stand before going to their annual excursion on the road.
During the past several years, the Spurs used the road trip as the turning point of their season, fine tuning plays, adjusting defensive schemes and figuring out rotations.
It can be seen as a catalyst for a big stretch run to end the regular season. But looking at the Spurs’ play right now, there is plenty to fix.
This year, it’s an eight game stretch that starts on Wednesday and ends on February 21. They’ll head back home to face the Oklahoma City Thunder on the 24th.
The upcoming trip is somewhat unusual and might prove to be harder for the Spurs as they will bring in a lot of new faces with them Bogans, Ratliff, Jefferson, Blair and McDyess are all first timers and they have to go on with the trip with an ailing Tony Parker.
This means that the Spurs have to lean more on the seasoned Rodeo Road Trip vets such as Tim Duncan and Manu Ginobili. While Duncan arguably remains to be one of the best big men in the league, Manu is having some troubles in getting back to his old form. This season Ginobili is shooting a career-low 39% from the field.
However, George Hill has been holding the fort fairly well while Tony is out, DeJuan Blair provides much needed rebounding and Antonio McDyess is finding his groove lately giving hope for a successful trip.
At this point, the Spurs are playing well enough to win games. Many might disagree with this statement, but despite losing most of their games against stronger teams, the Spurs are not getting blown out on most of those games.
In other words an additional hustle, a defensive stop or another shot made could turn things around for the Spurs. This means, one of their main issues is consistency. Whether the road trip will fix that problem remains to be seen.
Here’s a look at the Spurs’ upcoming games in their annual Rodeo Road Trip.
February 3 @ Kings
In their first two games this season, the Spurs came out victorious and with a lot of rest to start the trip. The Spurs have a great chance to begin the trip on a winning note.
February 4 @ Blazers
It’s the second night of back to backs. Don’t be surprised to see Coach Pop rest some of his starters. If that holds true, chalk up a win for the Blazers unless Blair takes over and put up another 20-20 performance.
February 6 @ Clippers
The Clippers have their share of struggles and injuries this season and the Spurs should be determined enough to get this win before their showdown against the Lakers.
February 8 @ Lakers
Spurs won their first meeting. But Kobe was hurt and Pau Gasol didn’t play in that game. The Lakers will be seeking revenge in this one.
February 11 @ Nuggets
The Nuggets has already beaten the Spurs twice this season and they won the last game minus Carmelo. Not looking good for the Spurs, although stealing one from the Nuggets on their home floor might not be too impossible.
February 12-16 All Star Break
Time for some needed rest while Duncan and Blair represent the Spurs in the All Star Game and Rookie Challenge respectively.
February 17 @ Pacers
The first game between these two teams was so close. It had to be decided by a point on a Duncan dunk. But the All Star Break should help rejuvenate the Spurs and make a run towards the end of the trip.
February 19 @ 76ers
The Spurs won the first time they met and I don’t expect the Spurs to loose focus and fall to a team with a losing record this late in the season.
February 21 @ Pistons
The Pistons are probably playing their worst basketball in recent memory and the Spurs should end the Rodeo trip with a win.
Will the Spurs be successful in this year’s Rodeo Road Trip?
If history holds true, they probably will. However, the Spurs’ normally air-tight defense has shown some leaks.
Maybe they will rally during the trip as they always seem to do. But the past month has been troubling enough that, this year; they need to win as much games as they can just to prove that they are still one of the title contenders in the league.
Prediction: The Spurs will be playing against three playoff teams in the West and five teams with losing record. Safe bet 5-3. Wishful thinking 7-1.
What do you think? Leave us a comment and try to give us your own prediction or thoughts on the Spurs’ upcoming road trip.