But the Spurs can still salvage a winning trip Wednesday night at Golden State, which returns home after an ugly five-game road swing and will hope to get a boost with coach Don Nelson back on the bench following a bout with illness.
San Antonio (12-10) has been surprisingly mediocre in the early going for the second straight season after the team was 9-8 through 17 games in 2008-09.
While the Spurs are the only NBA team to win more than 60 percent of its road games since the start of the 2000-01 season, they fell to 2-6 on the road after a 116-104 loss at Phoenix on Tuesday night.
Tim Duncan’s(notes) season-high 34 points along with 14 rebounds weren’t enough to buoy the Spurs, who struggled defensively as the Suns shot 11 of 18 from 3-point range and 51.6 percent from the field.
“We had too many pathetic games from too many people,” San Antonio coach Gregg Popovich said. “You can’t do that against a team like Phoenix.”
The Spurs can still finish 2-1 on this trip after beating the Los Angeles Clippers 115-90 on Sunday night, but they’ve put themselves in an unexpected hole as the eighth-place team in the Western Conference.
Golden State’s spot near the bottom of the standings is less surprising, especially considering the injuries that have plagued the team. Andris Biedrins(notes), Raja Bell(notes) and Brandan Wright(notes) are among the contributors who remain out.
The Warriors (7-17) were also missing their coach on their recent trip as Nelson stayed home to recover from pneumonia. He is expected to return Wednesday to help after his team dropped seven of its last eight overall.
The club’s only win during its 1-4 trip came over lowly New Jersey, and Philadelphia ended its 12-game losing streak with a 117-101 win over the Warriors on Monday.
“I think we’ll all be glad to get home, but you still want to play as well as you can on the road,” said Keith Smart, who has been the acting Golden State coach. “Unfortunately, we didn’t manage to do that on this trip.”
Warriors leading scorer Monta Ellis(notes) appeared to run out of gas against the Sixers, scoring a season-low eight points and shooting 3 of 14 from the field after he had played the full 48 minutes in three of the previous five games.
Parker has consistently excelled against the Warriors’ up-tempo attack, averaging 23.2 points and 7.2 assists while shooting 55.5 percent in his last 17 games against Golden State.
The Spurs have won six straight in the series, and they’re 39-7 against the Warriors since drafting Duncan in 1997.