The holiday season is upon us, and the San Antonio Spurs will once again be enjoying Christmas Day at home with their families. The NBA’s slate of games will mostly feature bigger-market teams and superstars, which I’m guessing is more than fine with Coach Gregg Popovich.
The Spurs haven’t been part of the NBA’s holiday lineup since 2016 when they took on the Chicago Bulls at the AT&T Center. Overall, the Silver and Black have had 11 Christmas Day games, currently holding a 5-6 record.
Dating from 1977-2016, here is every Spurs’ Christmas Day win to date, ranked.
5. Sean Elliott leads the Spurs over the Clippers (1992)
The 1992 Christmas lineup featured just two games: the Knicks taking on the Bulls and the Clippers hosting the Spurs. With both San Antonio and Los Angeles just below .500 heading into the showdown, the Spurs came out of the gates on fire on the road.
Taking a commanding 39-17 lead to end the first quarter, San Antonio didn’t look back on their way to a 103-94 victory over Danny Manning, Ron Harper, and the Clippers.
A 24-year-old Sean Elliott led the way for the Silver and Black, shooting 11-of-14 to finish with 32 points and eight assists. David Robinson contributed a double-double, scoring 21 to go with his 12 rebounds.
4. Barkley’s monster game isn’t enough (1995)
Sean Elliott and David Robinson were once again a double-headed snake for the Spurs in the 1995-96 season, each averaging over 20 points per game to lead them to a 59-23 record.
One of those wins came on Christmas over a struggling Phoenix Suns team led by All-Star Charles Barkley. Again, the Spurs rushed out to an early lead in Phoenix, taking the first quarter 31 to 21.
The Suns, however, rushed back to take a five-point lead into the break. Up by eight entering the last quarter, the Suns couldn’t quite close out the Spurs despite game-highs in both points (29) and rebounds (15) from Charles Barkley.
In the end, it was Elliott and Robinson once again that saved the day for San Antonio. Playing 44 minutes each, Elliott scored 28 points while Robinson pitched in 25 and 10 rebounds to lead the Spurs to a 105-100 victory.
3. The Ice Man shoots 71% to silence the Jazz (1977)
In their second year officially in the NBA after the merger, the San Antonio Spurs won their first-ever Christmas Day game at the Superdome.
The Spurs were in control from the tip, taking a 10-point lead into halftime. That margin was the difference in the final score as well, with San Antonio defeating the New Orleans Jazz 115-105.
Gervin shot a blistering 15-of-21 to score 31, with just one of his points being from the free throw line. Larry Kenon also contributed 16 points and eight boards while Billy Paultz put up a double-double of 15 pts and 10 rebounds.
Pete Maravich paced the Jazz with 27 points on 12-for-24 shooting.
2. LaMarcus and Kawhi put on a show (2016)
In their most recent Christmas Day game, San Antonio improved their holiday record to 5-6 with a dominant win over the Chicago Bulls. As you might be able to guess by now, they once again pounced in the first quarter, establishing a 36-25 lead at home.
While they slipped in the second quarter with just 19 points, the Spurs scored 32 or more in each of the other three to coast to a 119-100 victory over Dwyane Wade and Jimmy Butler’s squad.
LaMarcus Aldridge led all scorers with an ultra-efficient 33 points on 15-of-20 shooting. Kawhi Leonard buried three of his five shots from beyond the arc to pitch in 25 and 10 rebounds.
The matchup featured the rare Christmas Day Spurs seen in the featured image, displaying Spurs in a cursive font.
So, how does a 19-point win that saw the team shoot 57 percent not reach number one on this list?
1. Roger Mason puts coal in Phoenix’s stocking (2008)
Although every other win the Spurs have had on Christmas Day was by a bigger margin, none were as exciting as the 2008 game against the Phoenix Suns.
San Antonio was undoubtedly in Mike D’Antoni’s nightmares in the 2000s, as he lost to the Spurs in the postseason in 2005, 2007, and 2008. On Christmas Day the following season, the two teams played to an 88-88 tie with 7.7 seconds left.
After a bucket by Grant Hill established a two-point lead for Phoenix, it looked like the Suns would finally get a small amount of revenge on the Spurs. That is until Roger Mason became the Grinch at US Airways Center.
With the assist from a driving Tony Parker, Mason nailed a corner three at the buzzer to send the Phoenix crowd home grumpy and give Spurs fans a merry Christmas.
Here’s to more future Christmas thrillers in the Alamo City, but for now, enjoy the holidays, San Antonio.