Previewing the Rodeo Road Trip

I spent the last couple days moving into my new place in San Antonio. For the record, moving is a grueling and inconvenient experience that Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sportseveryone should try to do as few times as possible in their life.

Just as I’m settling in, the San Antonio Spurs are leaving this fine city on their annual Rodeo Road Trip. The Spurs’ next nine games will be away from home, starting on Wednesday in Minnesota and finishing up in Phoenix on February 24th.

It’s almost a whole month away from the AT&T center, but it could be a lot worse for the NBA’s hottest team.

The Spurs are taking their 10-game win streak with them on the road, and while I don’t expect them to come back with the same streak still intact, I do believe they’ll do quite well on this trip.

The Spurs get a nice mix of good and bad teams on the trip. They kick things off with Minnesota (18-26) and Detroit (18-30), two teams well below .500 that should make for a nice warm up, even if the Spurs are playing without Tim Duncan.

San Antonio has two relatively tough back-to-back stretches on the trip. The first one comes next with games against Brooklyn and Chicago on Howard Smith-USA TODAY Sportsconsecutive nights. The Nets (28-19) have been pretty hot since P.J. Carlesimo took over and are contending as one of the East’s top teams. The Bulls (29-18) have done surprisingly well without superstar Derrick Rose and could give the Spurs trouble.

After that, it’s two easy games against Cleveland (14-34) and Sacramento (17-32) split up by the All-Star break. I imagine the Spurs that aren’t taking place in the All-Star festivities will take the mini-vacation as a chance to come home.

After the game against the Kings, it’s another rough back-to-back against the Clippers (34-15) and Golden State (30-17). These are two very high-powered offenses that could wear out the Spurs, who will surely be a little tired after all this time on the road.

Finally, the Spurs get to close things out with a nice cool down game against the Phoenix Suns (16-32). 

Prediction: I think the Spurs go 7-2 on the Rodeo Road Trip. I’m guessing they’ll drop one game on each back-to-back because of the quality of their opponents and the frequency of the games. If it were anybody else, I would say they’d probably lose a random game against one of the horrendous teams, but I’ve always been impressed by the Spurs’ ability to take care of business and not play down to the level of their opponents.

I think the Spurs return home at the end of the month unscathed by their long trip away from home.

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