The reigning NBA champion San Antonio Spurs look to stay unbeaten at the AT&T Center on Sunday when they take on the struggling Portland Trail Blazers, a team they haven’t lost to at home in more than five years.
The Spurs (14-3), owners of the best record in the Western Conference, are 9-0 at home this season and 25-2 in their last 27 games there.
San Antonio, outscoring opponents by 14.1 points per game at the AT&T Center in 2007-08, knocked off the Trail Blazers 106-97 at home in the teams’ season opener Oct. 30.
That was San Antonio’s 10th win in a row over Portland and 17th in 18 meetings, including nine straight at home since a 95-76 loss Nov. 9, 2002.
In its usual understated style, though, San Antonio isn’t overlooking the Blazers (5-11), who have won once in their last 10 games.
“Teams are made up of human beings,” Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said. “No matter how you slice it, teams that aren’t playing well always come up with victories against good teams for that very reason. You need to guard against that throughout the season.”
Manu Ginobili has played a big role in the 10-game winning streak against Portland, averaging a team-high 18.6 points. He had 16 points and eight assists in the last meeting.
The Spurs hope Ginobili can help them avoid the letdown Popovich was referring to after he shot 11-of-16 from the field - 7-of-9 from 3-point range - and scored a season-high 31 points in a 106-91 win at Minnesota on Friday.
Ginobili leads the league in scoring off the bench with 19.9 points per game, a season after finishing second to Phoenix’s Leandro Barbosa for the NBA’s Sixth Man Award.
Portland, meanwhile, is hoping Brandon Roy, the 2006-07 NBA Rookie of the Year, can shake his shooting funk and help his team snap a three-game losing streak. Roy went 3-for-12 from the field, missed all five of his 3-pointers and scored eight points in Friday’s 91-80 defeat at Dallas.
Roy is second on the Blazers with 17.3 points per game but has struggled in the last three games, totaling 30 points on 11-of-44 shooting (25 percent) and 3-of-13 from beyond the arc.
“Things like that happen,” Trail Blazers coach Nate McMillan said. “Everyone’s going to have a week where the rhythm’s not there.”
Roy will try to get back on track against a San Antonio team that held him to seven points on 2-of-10 shooting in the season opener. He’s averaging 12.8 points in four career games against the Spurs.