It appears life on the road is beginning to get a lot easier for the surging San Antonio Spurs, as they continue an unblemished Rodeo Road Trip Saturday against the Los Angeles Clippers at Staples Center.
The Spurs have ripped off nine straight wins overall and improved to 5-0 on their annual Rodeo Road trip with Wednesday's 113-106 triumph at Toronto thanks to another strong effort from Tony Parker. Parker finished with a double-double, scoring 34 points and handing out 14 assists, and is averaging 26.6 ppg in his last six contests.
"Every game is new, it presents different challenges," said Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich about his team's winning streak. "I'm going to go ahead and guess we're probably going to lose at some point, maybe real quickly at some point. But you take some good lessons from wins and losses."
Manu Ginobili scored 11 points in his third game back after missing 22 straight with a broken bone in his hand. Tim Duncan had eight points in less than 20 minutes of action for a Spurs team that is 12-5 during a stretch of 16 of 21 games away from the Alamo City. Duncan entered the Toronto game averaging 17.1 points, 11.0 rebounds and 2.25 blocks per contest.
San Antonio will also visit the Jazz, Blazers and Nuggets on the trek and hasn't won 10 in a row since a 10-game run from Dec. 3-22, 2010. It hasn't won seven straight away from home since opening last season with eight consecutive victories on foreign ground.
Meanwhile, the Clippers are in the midst of alternating road and away games over a six-game stretch and recorded their second straight win with Thursday's 74-71 win at Portland.
Blake Griffin scored 21 points and pulled down 14 rebounds, while Mo Williams added 17 points and six boards off the bench for the Clippers, winners in 10 of their last 13 games. LA battled back from 18 points down in the second half and outscored Portland, 22-11, in the fourth quarter to hang on. Chris Paul chipped in 13 points and six rebounds, and wasn't pleased with his performance postgame.
"I couldn't make a shot. [The Blazers] were doing a really good job of defending," said Paul. "I'm still mad I didn't perform, but in the fourth quarter I was telling the guys that's where it matters."
The Clippers made just 38.5 percent of their shots, but Portland wasn't any better, shooting 38 percent from the field and scoring just 28 points in the second half. They are 11-3 as the host this season and will visit Golden State on Monday before returning to SoCal versus Denver on Wednesday.
Los Angeles suffered a 115-90 loss at San Antonio on Dec. 28 this season, as Ginobili scored 24 points and dished out six assists in that one. Griffin had 28 points in the loss for the Clippers, who snapped an 18-game losing streak to the Spurs with a 90-85 victory last Dec. 1. LA's previous win in the series was a 98-85 triumph on March 7, 2006.
San Antonio has still won 27 of the past 29 meetings with the Clippers. It has also prevailed in 13 of 16 and 21 of the last 25 games as the guest in this series.