In 2009, Carlos Boozer had 18 points and 11 rebounds in the Jazz’s win over the Spurs. Paul Millsap backed him up.
A couple months later, Boozer had 31-13 in another Jazz win over the Spurs. Again, Millsap backed him up.
Those are the only three times current Nuggets starters have won in San Antonio.
After splitting the first two games of their first-round series in Denver, the Nuggets must win at least once in San Antonio to advance. The first opportunity comes in Game 3 tonight.
Denver has lost 13 straight road games against the Spurs – a drought longer than the careers of Nikola Jokic, Jamal Murray and Gary Harris. The Nuggets’ other starters didn’t fare much better before joining Denver. Barton went 1-5 in San Antonio with Portland. Millsap went 2-20 in San Antonio with Utah and Atlanta.
Even several notches below their dynasty status, the Spurs remain especially tough at home.
The Spurs went 32-9 at home and 16-25 on the road this season. Maybe that’s an aberration in a limited sample. But they also went 33-8 at home and 14-27 on the road last season.
That’s a 79% win percentage at home and 37% on the road. The last time a team had such a large disparity over a two-year span was the 2008-2009 Jazz.
This might just be San Antonio’s post-Kawhi Leonard identity.
Here are the largest home-road win percentage differences in the last decade:
There’s another possibility: It’s not that the Spurs are that good at home. It’s that they’re that bad on the road.
But San Antonio trailed only the Nuggets, Bucks and Raptors in home record this season.
The Spurs also won Game 1 in Denver, where the altitude has historically given the Nuggets a strong homecourt advantage. If Denver dropped that game to a lousy road team, that’d be its own problem.
Either way, the Nuggets have a real challenge on their hands.