The rough road ahead. Previewing the Rodeo Road Trip

The San Antonio Spurs won their third road game Monday thanks to, as Coach Pop and Tim Duncan called it, lots of energy. Good thing the Spurs got that win in Memphis, because the memory of that win will be fresh for the next time they play the Grizz will be in Memphis for the start of the Rodeo Road Trip.

Before the season started I looked at the Rodeo Road Trip and thought well there’s only about six games there I’d bet on them winning.  Then the Clippers traded for Chris Paul, the Jazz have over performed and the Sixers are close to unbeatable at home. I think I’d still bet on them winning that Jazz game, but the point is a tough schedule is going to be even tougher. Here’s the full Rodeo Road Trip schedule:

  • Mon, 2/6 at Memphis
  • Wed, 2/8 at Philadelphia
  • Sat, 2/11 at New Jersey
  • Tue, 2/14 at Detroit
  • Wed, 2/15 at Toronto
  • Sat, 2/18 at L.A. Clippers
  • Mon, 2/20 at Utah
  • Tue, 2/21 at Portland
  • Thur, 2/23 at Denver

Here’s the awful news about that schedule. As of Tuesday, 1/31, the combined record of those teams are 93-84.  The only reason that combined record is only nine games over .500 because of how bad New Jersey, Detroit and Toronto are. Memphis, Philadelphia, the Clippers, Portland and Denver are all frightening games.  Even Utah isn’t a slam dunk (pardon the pun). 

But there is some good news about this year’s Rodeo Road Trip. First off, there are only two back-to-backs and one of those is Detroit and Toronto.  Second, they get a ton of rest, especially compared to how much they time off they have. There are three times through this schedule that they have two nights off between games. The Spurs haven’t had two days off since the season started. Finally, it’s not a certainty, but the Spurs are likely to get Manu Ginobili back for half of the trip.  The San Antonio Express News reported Ginobili will be cleared for one-on-one activity next week.  If they can get Manu back for the west coast swing of the trip they should be in some good shape.

Right now, I’d predict the Spurs go 5-4, maybe 6-3 on the trip.  The last three games of the trip are brutal.  Utah on Monday night, then Portland the next night and then back to Denver two days later is a really tough three games in four night stretch.  Essentially, the Spurs need to take care of business east of the Mississippi and take two out of four games on the west coast swing.

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