The “Rodeo Road Trip” has been a part of the San Antonio Spurs’ season since 2003. However, it’s safe to say the 2018-19 edition of the trip was hardly scrapbook-worthy stuff.
The Spurs lost to the Brooklyn Nets on Monday, giving them a 1-7 mark on the Rodeo Road Trip — which, per ESPN, is the team’s worst mark on the trip in history. A night after their defense was absent in a loss to the New York Knicks, the Spurs went across town and couldn’t get their offense going. San Antonio was held to its lowest point total of the season, and the NBA’s leading 3-point shooting team was a season-worst 16.7 percent behind the arc.
After the loss, the Spurs had to settle for whatever positives they could find.
“I was very angry after the game last night. I’m very pleased about this game because we held a good team to 101 points and if we continue to do that we’ll be in good shape,” Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said. “Just, you can’t control whether the ball goes in or not, so I think it was a good night for us.”
Their annual road trip began because of the San Antonio Stock Show and Rodeo, which takes over the AT&T Center. The only win the Spurs scored on the trip came on Feb. 12 — a game in which they had to survive a wild finish just to get that victory. Their 1-7 mark, coupled with the rest of the goings on in the Western Conference during that span, has San Antonio sitting at No. 8 with a one-game lead over the ninth-place Sacramento Kings.
The Spurs have made 21 consecutive playoff appearances, tied for the second-longest streak in NBA history.
”You have to stay confident, got to believe in yourself that hard work is going to make it better. Got to believe that shots are going to fall. Got to believe that if you put effort into defense and into doing the schemes that it’ll work,” said Spurs forward LaMarcus Aldridge. ”Like I said, going home doesn’t guarantee wins, but hopefully it’ll put some new life into us and try to get some wins.”
The good news for the Spurs is that of their remaining 20 games, 12 of them are at home. San Antonio is 22-7 at AT&T Center this season and last night’s game was the only rest-disadvantage game left on their schedule.
In addition, the Spurs came out of the All-Star break as the only team in the league with more games remaining against the opposite conference than they have within their own conference. Including their first three road games after the All-Star break, the Spurs will play 14 of their final 25 games against the East. That includes six total games against the East’s bottom four (two each against Atlanta, Cleveland and New York).
San Antonio gave up at least 30 points in every quarter Sunday in its 130-118 loss as New York snapped its franchise-worst home losing streak at 18 games. The Spurs then surrendered 28 in the first quarter in Brooklyn, falling behind by eight.
“It was a terrible shooting night,” Spurs guard DeMar DeRozan said, per the San Antonio Express-News. “Our shooters couldn’t knock down shots they’ve been knocking down all year. We couldn’t make nothing. Then defensively, watching them knock down tough 3 after 3 after 3, it was kind of tough.”
“This is our third straight loss,” said veteran swingman Rudy Gay. “That’s the frustration. It doesn’t matter how we shoot or all that other stuff. We’re just trying to get wins. That’s all it is right now.”
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.