Now that the hoopla of All-Star weekend is over, it's time to get back to business for the San Antonio Spurs in the remaining 26 games.
But first, let's look at what happened for the team during the Rodeo Road Trip.
In the past, Spurs has always used the Rodeo Road Trip to fix a few kinks in their game, and prepare them for the stretch run.
Since 2003, the Spurs have a fantastic overall record on their rodeo excursion which has helped the team to bond more which is crucial in the long run. This year's road trip looked a lot easier than their previous annual tour away from San Antonio. A quick look at their nine road games and a 6-3 record seemed to be a modest bet --- six of their opponents on this recently concluded trip have losing records.
The team bounced back by pounding the Washington Wizards and New Jersey Nets but lost their last rodeo game against the Chicago Bulls. In the end, the Spurs finished the Rodeo Road Trip with a 6-3 record but loss to some teams that they should have beaten. Despite the loss however, the Spurs stayed on top of the standings and kept a five game cushion over the rest of the NBA teams going into the All-Star Break.
The Rodeo Road Trip is the gauge of how this Spurs team will do in the second half of the season, it is usually the time where Spurs pick up the pace towards a strong push going into the playoffs. They are the league's best from the get-go and are playing well against elite teams and taking care of business against "lesser" squads and are showing a winning attitude.
Nonetheless, they dropped a game against Philadelphia, lost to an injury plague Portland team and was defeated by the Bulls who played without Joakim Noah. I know looking for a perfect road trip might be asking too much, but on paper the Spurs are clearly better than the 76ers and seemingly had the upper hand against Portland being short-handed. Losing to the 76ers don't bother me much, but the loss to the Trail Blazers is a bit troubling.
Yes, the Spurs have won more games and have set new franchise records this season but like it or not the Blazers exposed one of the Spurs' glaring weakness and that is their lack of front court depth.
Specifically, the Spurs are having problems against teams with young and mobile bigs and LaMarcus Aldridge sent that message loud and clear, when he dropped 40 points in their 99-86 victory over the Spurs last February 1st.
Another thing is the Blazers are a potential playoff foe. Not to be pessimistic but for the Spurs to survive the post-season, they really need to shore-up their frontline either by speeding up Tiago Splitter's learning curve or by looking for added help via buyout or free agency.
The Bulls on the other hand proved that the Spurs' defense needs more work. Chicago shot 53.8% from the field and out-rebounded San Antonio 41-29. Not to mention Derrick Rose burned them with 42 points as he repeatedly attacked the Spurs' defense.
What do you think about the Spurs' performance in their latest rodeo trip? Share us your thoughts.
The 6-3 record was ok but we have ways to got in defense that's for sure. The Spurs can use the last 26 games to iron things out and get ready for the playoffs!
I THINK SPURS WAS GOOD ON TRIP WITH 6-3 RECORD.,ALWAYS HAD TROUBLE WITH PHILLY BUT I WAS DISAPPOINTED WITH CHICAGO EFFORT,I THOUGHT THEY GIVE IT ALL OUT EFFORT BEFORE BREAK.I THINK SPURS HAS ALWAYS BEEN BEST TEAM IN SECOND HALF SEASON FOR LAST FEW YEARS AND I EXPECT SAME.I AM LITTLE WORRIED WITH MANU GINOBILLI SHOOTING LAST MONTH BUT I KNOW HE RYTHEM SHOOTER AND HE GET BETTER BUT HE NEEDS SOME REST.I AM STILL HOPING JAMES ANDERSON CAN GET PLAYING TIME IN ROTATION BECAUSE HE GOING BE BIG TIME SHOOTER FOR THIS TEAM .THE NBA MEDIA AND EXPERTS INCLUDING PLAYER'S HAS GIVEN US NO RESPECT SO I HOPE THIS WILL FUEL THE PLAYERS TO BE THE BEST AND BRING HOME 5TH CHAMPIONSHIP.
"it is important to keep in mind that championships are not won during the regular season. " So true! remember what happened to the Mavericks?
I agree with the article, it was right on target. I hope the Spurs improve their defense fast. Nice article!
Thanks all for the reads and comments guys. I felt that this road trip could have gone better, the loss to the Blazers is still in my head, they seem to know how to play us even with depleted lineup it happened before and it's happening again, I hope it's just an aberration. Philadelpia has owned us in the past I think the Spurs has own won 2-3 games in Philly the last eight seasons but I not worried about that. The Bulls well I think if we can improved our perimeter defense (which is I'm confident about) we will be fine. Again, thanks everyone for all the support here on Project Spurs.
The Spurs should have gone at least 7-2 on the road trip. The loss to the Blazers and the Bulls are disappointing, but they still have time to regroup and get better going into the post season.
When will the Spurs give Tiago the playing time he deserves? I know he got injured but In felt he could have played the last two rodeo games. He plays well when given the opportunity. He will help a lot in improving the Spurs' interior defense.
The Spurs defense really need to improv. The loss to the Bulls was expected by most people by i think we could easily wnet 7-2 on that rodeo trip.
Good points Robby defense and interior depth will be needed in the playoffs. We don't really need to make a move. Tiago will play an important role in the playoffs and our defense will get better. Hill is doing a good job in the perimeter, when Anderson games back we have another capable wing defender. Ginobili and Neal are no slouch either in terms of playing defense. Aldridge and Rose won't score 40+ against the Spurs everytime be still we need to make that extra leap on defense. Great write up as always.
You know the Spurs loss to the Bulls also brings up the notion if the Spurs need a perimeter defender still. Rose tore the SAS up
The Spurs will definitely be on a higher gear when the playoffs arrives just like everybody else. But I think we will have enough. Tiago may end up playing limited minutes and we still have James Anderson who can also provide much needed scoring off the bench. I believe in this team!
I believe, that Spurs should have at least two go to guys for play off, who can take over game if needed, like Rose or Aldridge did. Their defense, especially 3 point should improve significantly, if they want to compete for the title.
Parker, Gino and Tim can do it on any given night, and they should, if team doesn't click. That exactly what James did yesterday, willing the East to almost comeback in All STAR game, by incredible determination and power. Team leader should have killer instinct, like Jordan, Bird had. In the game with Bulls, there was no player on Spurs team with that will power. Tony did score 26 points, but Rose scored 42. Manu was out of sink and indicisive. And he is concidered a clutch player. Spurs should become more tough and determined, especially at the end of the game and especially against strong opponent.
Tim did it in the final game 2005 against Pistons. Tony destroyed Cavaliers in 2007 finals.
Guys, please turn to the hihger gear. I really would like Championship Banner #5 raised in Alamo!
The Sixers have owned us for quite a while but I think that's on OK loss. In my opinion the losses to the Blazers and Bulls revealed that we needed to get better on defense and that should be the focus as we approach the playoffs. I don't feel the need for another big as long as Tiago can give us 10-15 quality minutes in the playoffs.
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@LFJeremy i agree with robby about the 76ers loss kind of being forgivable but the Blazers game is scary. what if they face them in the 1st round?
This is one of the easiest road trip the Spurs have had.6-3 ain't that bad but I was hoping for 7-2 at least. It's ok we still got the best record but Robby made a good point about our lack of depth with the bigs that could be a problem in the playoffs. Tiago needs to show up fast!
The Bulls are a great team overall, and even better at home so that loss from my point of view we don't have to look at.The Sixers' loss was a fluke 'cause noone could not hit a shot.So that leads to the Blazers game which was the first of the RRT, a game decided in the 4th quarter that could've gone either way.That leads to the conclusion that even when they lose(rarely this year though),The Spurs are competitive and more than that,and for me this RRT was a complete success!!!46-10!!BEST OF THE BESTTT!!!!!!!GOOOO SPPPPUUURRRRSSS GOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
It will definately be interesting to see what they do with the frontcourt rotation moving forward. I know they know what they are doing but Splitters injuries are making me wonder if they are still confident he will be ready for the playoffs. Let's face it, we have the best record, but if Spitteri is a no go for the post season, we are kidding ourselves if we think we can take the West. It's not that Spitter is all that great, but he could be that X Factor and our other BIG. We will NOT make it to the WCF without another big man. Book it. There is too much frontcourt depth on the western conference playoff teams..