The San Antonio Spurs were able to get their annual Rodeo Road Trip off to a promising start, but must face a pesky Philadelphia 76ers squad that hasn't backed down from any team tonight at Wells Fargo Center.
San Antonio kicked off the nearly 8,000-mile trip with an 89-84 triumph in Memphis on Monday, as Tony Parker led the Spurs with 21 points and Tim Duncan recorded his team-high seventh double-double with 19 points and a season-high 17 rebounds. Tiago Splitter added 14 points in a reserve role for the Spurs, winners in five straight.
"All our young guys are playing well. It's going to help us down the road," Parker said.
The Spurs are only 4-8 away from the Alamo City, but have improved tremendously on the road after losing there first five games there. They will also visit the Nets, Pistons, Raptors, Clippers, Jazz, Blazers and Nuggets on the nine-game trek. After starting the season with nine of 13 games at the AT&T Center, the Spurs are currently in the midst of playing 16 of 21 games on the road. San Antonio, which is on top of the Southwest Division, doesn't return home until opening a seven-game residency versus Chicago on Feb. 29.
Duncan, who also swatted a season-best five shots in Memphis, passed Charles Oakley with his rebounding effort against the Grizzlies and is one of the top-20 rebounders of all-time. The future Hall of Famer also recorded his second double-double in a row after he posted 13 points and 15 rebounds Saturday in a home win over Oklahoma City. He is averaging 18.0 points, 10.8 rebounds and 2.2 blocks in his last five games.
Philadelphia has turned heads so far in this condensed season and recorded its sixth win in seven tries with Monday's hard-fought 95-90 victory over Kobe Bryant and the Los Angeles Lakers in the opener of a three-game homestand.
The Atlantic Division-leading Sixers used a 14-2 run late in the game to erase an 86-79 deficit and received a big lift from reserve Lou Williams. Williams scored seven straight at one point during the spurt and finished with 24 points for the 76ers, who pushed their home record to 13-3 and were coming off of Saturday's road win at Atlanta. Jrue Holiday scored 13 points and Andre Iguodala had 12 in the win.
"That was an amazing win for us. I didn't know how we were going to battle through their size," Philadelphia head coach Doug Collins said. "Lou [Williams] got hot at the right time for us."
Collins' club, which is 5-3 against the West this season, had a season-low four turnovers, a floor record for any team since Wells Fargo Center opened back in 1996. The Sixers will close out the residency versus the Los Angeles Clippers Friday night. Sixers forward Elton Brand missed his second straight game with a sprained right thumb and is questionable for Wednesday.
Sixers center Spencer Hawes is doubtful with a sore Achilles.
Tonight, the Sixers are trying to win two straight over the Spurs for first time since sweeping the home-and-home series back in 2003-04 (11/14/03-1/3/04). San Antonio has lost four in a row at Philadelphia, last winning there Jan. 21, 2007 in a 99-85 decision.