San Antonio (44-8) at Philadelphia (24-28)

By SANTOSH VENKATARAMAN, STATS Senior Writer Thursday, Feb 10, 2011 Tipoff: 7:00 pm EST Fri Feb 11, 2011

The San Antonio Spurs have had more trouble in Philadelphia over the last 11 seasons than in any other Eastern Conference city.

The Spurs will try for a rare road win against the 76ers on Friday night when they continue their “Rodeo Road Trip.”

San Antonio (44-8) is seeking to become the sixth team in NBA history to begin 45-8 or better and the first since the 1996-97 champion Chicago Bulls. Doing so could be tricky since the Spurs have won twice in their last 10 visits to Philadelphia for their lowest amount of road victories against an East foe since 2000-01.

The league-leading Spurs feel they have been getting opponents’ best shots during this annual road trip that occurs when the rodeo takes over the AT&T Center. They will visit nine cities over 17 days and travel 8,187 miles.

San Antonio used a big fourth quarter for a 111-100 victory at Toronto on Wednesday, outscoring the Raptors 30-16 as DeJuan Blair(notes) had 16 of his 28 points over the final 12 minutes.

“I guess when they play a team that has a record like ours they are going to be pretty motivated to get after you, it’s a motivational thing and they did that tonight,” coach Gregg Popovich said.

Blair matched a career high in scoring and added 11 rebounds for his 13th double-double. He’s got double-doubles in five of his last six games, averaging 15.0 points on 56.6 percent shooting and 10.5 rebounds.

“He’s just got a knack,” Popovich said. “He’s a natural player. He’s got great hands, he understands what’s going on. He’s got great body control. He gets it done.”

All-Star guard Manu Ginobili(notes) has had a quiet road trip, averaging 13.0 points on 37.5 percent shooting. He has shot 38.0 percent and averaged 15.0 points in eight career games at Philadelphia.

Tony Parker’s(notes) 12.4 scoring average in Philadelphia is his lowest in any city.

The Spurs had no trouble with the 76ers in a 116-93 home win Nov. 13. Parker scored 24 points, Ginobili had 18 and Blair added 13 and 12 boards.

That game came during Philadelphia’s 3-13 start. The 76ers (24-28) are playing better now as winners of seven of 10, although they fell 99-95 at home to Orlando on Wednesday.

Andre Iguodala(notes) had 21 points and eight assists, and he’s averaging 22.0 points on 56.1 percent shooting during the Sixers’ three-game home win streak over the Spurs.

Lou Williams scored 18 of his 23 points in the fourth quarter Wednesday. He’s averaging 5.0 points in the fourth quarter over the last four seasons, his highest average in any period.

“Just being aggressive,” Williams said. “I have always been a late-game guy. The last three or four years of my career, the fourth quarter has always been my best.”

San Antonio is hoping rookie big man Tiago Splitter(notes) will be available after he left Wednesday’s victory late in the third quarter with a strained left hamstring and did not return.

“It’s a little bit painful right now but I’ll be good,” Splitter said.

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