Last season the San Antonio Spurs lost all of one game at home in the AT&T Center while going 27-14 on the road. That’s a pretty good gift to your fan base when they’re all but assured of a victory at a home game. The Spurs’ home court advantage was discussed ad nausea last season, and rightfully so.
This year? They’ve started the season 13-1 on the road, falling short by a game of tying an NBA record to start a season. At home they’re barely playing over .500 ball. What gives?
This season’s team does have a drastically different look than previous Spurs teams, starting with the lack of GOAT Tim Duncan anchoring the defense. Additionally, Tony Parker has missed much of the season with various ailments, as Nico Laprovittola has started several games in his stead (and yes, I had to look up how to spell Nico’s last name).
Does the crowd at AT&T not have the same enthusiasm that they did when the Big Fundamental was no the court? That hardly seems like a rational reason, as the 2016-2017 Spurs are one of the more exciting San Antonio teams of recent years. Heck, on Tuesday night the “old and slow” Spurs had a series with back-to-back-to-back alley oops. Yes, you read that correctly – three offensive series in a row that ended with a successful alley to an oop. Jonathan Simmons and Dewayne Dedmon can throw it down.
In my oh so humble opinion, the real reason behind the dominance on the road, and the lack thereof at home, comes down to the simple issue of focus. This team looks downright bored at times during home games, just going through the motions without putting much effort into their defense or offensive rotations. It’s as if they know that they will be able to “turn it on” when needed. They only lost once at home last season, and seem to think at times that they will automatically win home games this year. On the road they tend to play longer stretches without these lulls, putting together more dominant quarters than not.
I’m not necessarily complaining about this dichotomy. After all, a 18-5 record is good for second in the West and nothing to sneeze at. However, a team cannot rely on going undefeated on the road – eventually that has to come back to the mean. It is still early in December, only a quarter of the way through the season, and the Spurs have historically gotten better, playing tighter games, as the season gets closer to the playoffs. That should be even more apparent this year as the relatively new team continues to gel and get used to each other.
Anyway, the Spurs are 3-1 against the other Texas teams. Everyone knows the real King of the Mountain resides in San Antonio.