With a 105-91 win on Tuesday night against the Minnesota Timberwolves, the San Antonio Spurs have become just the second team in NBA history to start 13-0 on the road, one away from matching last seasons Golden State Warriors.
Currently on a four game winning streak, the Spurs dodged a bullet just days ago against the Milwaukee Bucks to keep their streak alive on the road.
With the Spurs making history yet again, we take a look at their next three games on the road and which team has a chance to hand San Antonio their first blemish.
December 8, 2016: Chicago Bulls The Chicago Bulls are on a streak of their own, a losing streak. They have lost their last three games with their latest coming at the hands of the Detroit Pistons. This Bulls team departed ways with Derrick Rose and welcomed in Dwyane Wade and Rajon Rondo to their mix.
Chicago has the talent. Their strengths are with their guards. Wade and Butler will indeed do the bulk of the scoring and they have done just that. Against Portland, the duo combined for 60 points and on the next night, 51 against Detroit. Butler had 32 in that game.
What has been the weakness for the Bulls is on the defensive end. Against San Antonio they are going to have their hands full with the constant rotating in of players that Gregg Popovich does throughout the game. Kawhi Leonard will be a hard cover, they know that, LaMarcus Aldridge and Pau Gasol will have their chances in the post.
What could be a deciding factor in this game would be how the Bulls can react to the Spurs bench players. Patty Mills, Dewayne Dedmon, Manu Ginobili, Jonathon Simmons and David Lee have provided a lot of quality minutes for San Antonio and have made it difficult for teams on defense to contend with them.
December 15, 2016: at Phoenix Suns The Phoenix Suns are a team just like the Chicago Bulls have their most production out of their guards. Eric Bledsoe returns healthy paired with shooting guard Devin Booker which could vault them into Best Backcourt Duo conversations.
Bledsoe is averaging just under 20 a game and Booker 14.9. Everyone knows what Bledsoe will bring to the game. He has improved his game since joining Phoenix from the Clippers. For Booker, the sealing his high for this kid. He has already improved his game from a year ago and has given the Suns another option on the scoring end.
Suns weakness comes in their front-court. The Suns drafted two quality products in Marquese Chriss and Dragan Bender, so the future is solid, but for this season there are real depth issues up front.
Veteran Tyson Chandler appears on the downside of his career and does not have the mobility that e used to. Suns do not have any bigs there who’ve shown a propensity to step into the role of long term core pieces outside the rookies.
A young front-court against a vet savy team like the Spurs looks good for San Antonio. You look at the defensive matchups that will be made in this game and you can’t help but feel bad for the Suns.
They will have to worry about more than just Kawhi to defend. They do not matchup at all with San Antonio.
December 20, 2016: Houston Rockets The bearded one James Harden has had himself a pretty good start to the season. He has the ball in his hands most of the time and has proven to be a big asset whether he is scoring or setting his teammates up.
The Rockets are a different team after they shipped away Dwight Howard. Harden is their main offensive producer.
Harden is now surrounded by shooters and big men who will be willing to get out of the paint to clear space for his drive, this offense should hum. He also is playing at an MVP level.
Mike D’Antoni’s teams have always scored at a good clip, and he hasn’t had an offensive stud to build around like Harden since Steve Nash. Harden has also embraced his leadership role on the court and in the locker room.
With their strength being their offense, what do you think their weakness is? Remember D’Antoni is their coach and most of his teams don’t have what? That is right, defense.
D’Antoni’s rep on D is as bad as his offensive rep is good, and the Rockets were one of the league’s worst defensive teams before losing Dwight Howard and adding the turnstiles that have been Ryan Anderson and Eric Gordon.
But, a lot of the issues one-year ago were due to a team-wide malaise. Trevor Ariza and Patrick Beverley are studs on that end. Clint Capela has length, bounce and timing enough to be a good-to-great rim protector in place of Howard. James Harden has nowhere to go but up.
The other glaring weakness is durability. Harden played in all 82 last year and put up historic numbers. If he’s hurt, the Rockets are sunk. Around him, Beverley, Gordon, Ryan Anderson and Nene have all had trouble staying on the floor their whole career.
That is the Spurs next three opponents in a nutshell. Now, which of these three have the better chance of snapping the Spurs streak?