San Antonio went 34-7 at the AT&T Center on its way to the best record in the Western Conference in 2005-06, but fell to 15-8 there this season with a 90-85 loss to Houston on Wednesday.
Tim Duncan had 37 points for the Spurs (30-14), his most in a regular-season game since he scored 39 against Seattle on Dec. 8, 2004, but the rest of the team shot just 36.7 percent from the field as San Antonio fell to 5-5 in its last 10 contests at home.
Houston’s Tracy McGrady also scored 37 points, including 12 in the fourth quarter, against a usually stingy Spurs defense.
“You never want to be in a game that’s close with Tracy McGrady. He can rise up anywhere on the court over just about anybody who’s guarding him,” Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said. “And he’s an unselfish player. If you double team him he’s going to find someone else.”
San Antonio trailed by as many as 14 points in the fourth quarter Wednesday and cut the deficit to two with a minute remaining before McGrady took over.
“I thought we played with great intensity and physicality the last six minutes of the game when we were down 10,” Popovich said. “The first three quarters they played that same way more than we did. In the end they ground the game out better than we did.”
The Spurs went 12-3 in December, but are 7-6 in January.
Memphis, meanwhile, has the NBA’s worst record at 11-32 and has been surrounded by recent trade rumors involving star center Pau Gasol. The Grizzlies, though, come into this contest on a high note after beating Northwest Division-leading Utah 132-130 in overtime on Wednesday.
Eddie Jones made a 22-foot jumper in the final second of overtime to help the Grizzlies overcome Utah’s 55.1 percent shooting and snap a 10-game road losing streak. It was Memphis’ third win in 22 road games this season and first since a victory over Boston on Dec. 6.
“We just decided not to call a timeout and Eddie made the play,” Memphis coach Tony Barone said. “Sometimes those go in and sometimes they don’t. We didn’t drop anything cute.”
Chucky Atkins had 29 points and 15 assists off the bench, and made six of his 10 3-point attempts for a Grizzlies team that went 16-of-26 from beyond the arc. Gasol had 17 points, 13 rebounds and 12 assists for his second career triple-double.
“We definitely needed it. We’re having a tough year, so it took a lot of fight. It took a lot of effort,” Gasol said.
Memphis could use some more of that effort when it visits San Antonio, which has won six straight in the series. The Grizzlies are the only team in the NBA without a victory within its division this season, going 0-8 against Southwest clubs.