The San Antonio Spurs finished with the best road record in the NBA last season. In 2006-07, they’ve picked up right where they left off.
The Spurs look to extend their franchise-best road start when they visit the Portland Trail Blazers at the Rose Garden on Monday.
Last season, San Antonio (8-2) went 29-12 away from the AT&T Center to match the 1994-95 club for the best road record in franchise history.
The Spurs wrapped up the 2005-06 season winning their final five road games, and have opened the 2006-07 season with a 5-0 mark on the road after defeating Sacramento 108-99 on Sunday.
Frequently, the games haven’t even been close. San Antonio is outscoring its opponents by 8.8 points per game away from home.
“They know how to win on the road, they know how to win at home,” Kings coach Eric Musselman said after Sunday night’s contest. “They’ve been doing it for many years.”
Tim Duncan scored a season-high 35 points and grabbed 14 rebounds to record his eighth double-double of the season. Duncan made 13 of 17 shots and was 9-for-11 from the free-throw line.
“I got it going early and was able to sustain it,” said Duncan, who is averaging 21.6 points and 10.6 rebounds on the road this season.
Duncan has created problems for defenses in the NBA throughout his 10-year career, but struggled offensively against the Trail Blazers (5-6) last season.
The two-time league MVP averaged just 15 points on 45.1 percent shooting in four games against Portland. In his last game against the Blazers, Duncan scored a season-low six points on 3-of-7 shooting in a 98-79 Spurs win on March 24.
San Antonio won all four meetings with Portland by an average of 18.5 points last season in spite of Duncan’s struggles.
The Spurs have won five straight games over the Blazers overall, and 12 of the last 13 meetings. They have also won six of their last seven visits to the Rose Garden.
Portland was tied with Houston, New York and Toronto for the worst home record in the NBA last season at 15-26, but is off to a 3-1 start at the Rose Garden this season.
The Blazers defeated New Jersey 86-68 on Saturday, snapping a four-game losing streak.
Portland held the Nets to opponent season lows in points and field goal percentage (33.3 percent) in a dominant defensive effort.
On offense, the Blazers jumped out to a 13-0 lead, and committed just 11 turnovers in the game.
“We had a long film session about what we needed to do to be connected on both ends of the floor,” Portland coach Nate McMillian said. “Our turnovers were down and we weren’t trying to force 3s. I thought it was our best all-around game.”
Zach Randolph had 20 points and 16 rebounds Saturday. The 6-foot-9 Randolph struggled to find his shot against the Spurs last season, though, averaging 16.3 points on just 32.9 percent shooting from the field.