The Golden State Warriors figured they were in trouble before embarking on a three-game road trip against opponents that were a combined 45-14, but played well in defeat during their first two stops.
They can’t be too optimistic about the trip’s finale.
The San Antonio Spurs have won 24 straight home games against the Warriors since Tim Duncan’s(notes) rookie season, an astounding streak they’ll look to extend Wednesday night as they take aim at the best start in franchise history.
Golden State (8-13) nearly came back from a 23-point deficit in a 114-109 loss at Oklahoma City on Sunday, then led after three quarters Tuesday in Dallas before the Mavericks rallied for a 105-100 win, their 10th straight.
“We’re right there with a lot of the top level teams,” coach Keith Smart said. “We’ll turn the corner if we play with this kind of effort.”
No matter the effort, it’s hard to see Golden State going home without losing for the 10th time in 11 games. They’ve lost nine straight overall to the Spurs (17-3), the latest a 118-98 loss in Oakland on Nov. 30 as Duncan recorded 15 points, 18 rebounds and 11 assists.
“I think they did what they’ve done the last couple of years, and that’s invite us to take the jump shot and say we are going to live with you shooting the jump shot,” Smart said.
During the nine consecutive defeats, Golden State has shot 43.0 percent and averaged 96.9 points - 11.7 fewer than they’ve averaged against the rest of the league during that stretch.
That losing streak pales in comparison to what Duncan and his teammates have done against the Warriors in San Antonio, however. The Spurs have beaten Golden State 24 straight times in Texas - the NBA’s longest active home streak against a single opponent.
They’ve shot 54.9 percent and averaged 121.7 points in the last seven during the streak, numbers inflated by what took place March 19. San Antonio shot 64.6 percent, outrebounded the Warriors 53-29 and had eight players in double figures in a 147-116 rout, the franchise’s best offensive day since a 161-153 win over Denver on Nov. 7, 1990.
The 31-point thrashing was especially impressive because Tony Parker(notes) was out with a broken finger. The three-time All-Star has averaged 23.7 points and 7.6 assists in his last seven home games versus Golden State, and Parker’s 19.2-point career average against the Warriors is his best against any opponent.
With a win Wednesday, the Spurs can claim the best start in franchise history. They would top the 2007-08 team that lost its 21st game - at Golden State, ironically - after also opening 17-3.
While that team won with defense, holding eight of its first 17 victims under 90 points, this version of Gregg Popovich’s team has thrived offensively. San Antonio has scored at least 103 points in 14 of its wins, while it’s been held under 95 in its three losses.
The Spurs were clicking on all cylinders Sunday against New Orleans, though. Parker had 19 points to lead seven players in double figures as San Antonio built a 38-point lead during a 109-84 blowout that left Popovich smiling.
“I thought that our team defense was very good from the beginning to the end of the game,” Popovich said. “It’s one of the few games this year we’ve had really consistent defense for the whole 48 minutes.
“That was the best part of the game to me, because to be an elite team we’ve got to do that more and more.”