Taking advantage of some home games against teams they expected to beat, the San Antonio Spurs have finally strung some wins together. Their emergence from an early-season slump, however, has yet to be tested on the road.
The Spurs look to extend their season-high winning streak to four games with their first road victory Friday night when they visit the Houston Rockets, in danger of losing consecutive games for the first time.
In part because it’s struggled with injuries to some of its top players, San Antonio (7-6) lost six of its first 10 games. The Spurs have rebounded with three straight wins, finishing a four-game homestand by defeating Washington, Milwaukee and a short-handed Golden State team.
Tony Parker(notes) scored 32 points and Tim Duncan(notes) had 20 points and 10 rebounds as the Spurs beat the Warriors 118-104 on Wednesday night. The Warriors used only nine players, one night after using six in a win at Dallas.
While they’re encouraged by their recent play in San Antonio, the Spurs are 0-4 on the road. They’re averaging 90.5 points and shooting 41.8 percent from the field away from home, compared to 107.3 points and 48.9 percent at the AT&T Center.
“It will be big,” reserve guard Roger Mason(notes) Jr. said about this matchup with the Rockets. “We haven’t had a lot of success on the road. For us, the road is where we really bond and come together and start doing that.”
The Rockets (8-7) have won three of their last four home games against the Spurs after dropping 14 of the previous 18. San Antonio won its last trip to Houston 88-85 on March 14, getting 28 points and eight assists from Parker.
“It’s always a rivalry,” Parker said. “Going to be a big game and a big test for us because we still need a win on the road. We need to start wining on the road. It’s a good game for us and they have been playing well.”
Parker might not have seen Houston’s performance Wednesday night. The Rockets grabbed an early 13-point lead before falling 130-99 to Dallas. They allowed the Mavericks to shoot 65.5 percent from the field, the highest against them since the Spurs shot 67.6 percent in a 126-105 win on April 7, 1985.
“There wasn’t any defense,” coach Rick Adelman said. “We didn’t even get close enough to them to even foul them in the first half. I don’t know what happened.”
Houston’s miserable defensive performance overshadowed another strong game from reserve forward Carl Landry(notes), who had 24 points and shot 9 for 11 in 29 minutes for his sixth 20-point performance of the season. Landry, fifth in the NBA in bench scoring with 15.7 points per game, is averaging 21.1 points and shooting 71.8 percent in seven home games this season. However, he’s been held to 5.4 points in five career games against San Antonio.
While Landry hopes he can finally solve the Spurs’ interior defense, Rockets starter Luis Scola(notes) will try to carry his road success against his former team into the Toyota Center. The 6-foot-9 forward from Argentina is averaging 16.8 points and shooting 58.7 percent in four games in San Antonio, but he’s scored 6.8 points per game and shot 37.9 percent in four home games against the Spurs.
San Antonio drafted Scola in the second round in 2002 and kept him overseas before trading him to Houston before the 2007-08 season.