The San Antonio Spurs are perfect on the road this season, but their early season struggles at home have been surprising.
The Spurs look to avoid consecutive losses at the AT&T Center on Friday when they host the struggling Chicago Bulls.
San Antonio (6-2) had lost a combined 10 games at home the last two seasons, but is 2-2 at the AT&T Center after a 95-92 overtime loss Wednesday to Charlotte that snapped a five-game winning streak.
Last season, the Spurs didn’t lose their third home game until Jan. 22.
“It’s another tough one coming in,” Spurs forward Tim Duncan said of facing the Bulls. “We’ve already dropped two here and we have to get it together.”
Despite 25 points from Tony Parker, and 24 and 13 rebounds from Duncan, the Spurs shot season lows from the field (37.5 percent) and 3-point range (11.8 percent). They shot 3-for-12 in overtime and finished 36-for-96 overall.
“There were just too many lay-ups that we missed and too many mistakes that we made late,” Duncan said. “Not to take anything away from Charlotte. They played great. We just helped them out a little too much.”
San Antonio is shooting 42.6 percent from the field at home, but just 27.0 percent (17-for-63) from 3-point range.
The Spurs won their first five games at home last season before losing 106-99 to the Chicago Bulls on Nov. 25, 2005, in their last meeting. They last lost consecutive home games April 5-7 against Sacramento and Dallas.
Chicago (3-5) will try to avoid its third consecutive loss overall as it completes a three-game swing through Texas. The Bulls are in the middle of a seven-game road trip as the circus makes its annual stop in Chicago.
Slow starts on the road are nothing new for the Bulls, who have lost four in a row outside the United Center after a season-opening win at Miami. They started the 2004-05 season with six straight road losses and dropped their first four road games last season.
Chicago led after one quarter, then trailed by as many as 21 points before rallying late in a 101-100 defeat Thursday at Houston. Ben Gordon matched his season high with 37 points, scoring 30 in the second half in his second game since being removed from the starting lineup.
“I was just trying to be a little aggressive,” said Gordon, who averaged 12.8 points in his first six games as a starter before scoring 54 points in his last two games as a reserve. “I’ve been struggling with my shot lately, so I wanted to get to the free-throw line. That’s what kind of got me going.
“We just were a little bit too late. I just wish we’d done that at the beginning of the game.”
Center Ben Wallace should be available Friday despite straining his right biceps in the first quarter against the Rockets. He left the game briefly, but returned early in the second quarter with tape wrapped around the injury.
Before last season’s win, the Bulls had lost nine straight and 13 of the last 14 to the Spurs, and their previous six at San Antonio.