San Antonio (10-3) at Seattle (6-8)
November 26, 2006 7:10pm CST
Coming off a home loss to their biggest rival, the San Antonio Spurs look to extend the best road start in franchise history when they begin a three-game trip on Sunday against the Seattle SuperSonics. The Spurs (10-3) are the league's only team that has not lost away from home, setting a team record by opening the season with six straight road victories. They have won 11 consecutive regular-season games on the road dating back to last season, when they finished with the best road record in the NBA (29-12). "We are really playing better on the road than at home," Manu Ginobili said after the team's most recent road win, 107-98 at Portland on Tuesday. "We have a better mentality. We grind games out for 48 minutes." San Antonio was eight points down at the half in that game, one night after having to erase a 13-point deficit to win in Sacramento. That recent trend of falling behind early caught up to San Antonio on Friday against red-hot Dallas. The Spurs trailed by 14 after the first quarter and by nine at halftime en route to a 95-92 loss that ended their four-game winning streak. "It's a bad habit," San Antonio's Tony Parker said. "We need to find a way to get a better start." Tim Duncan scored 29 points and made 10-of-16 from the field, but the Spurs lost at home to the Mavericks just as they did in Game 7 of last season's Western Conference semifinals. "We put ourselves in a hole these last couple games and we have to find a way to get away from that," said Duncan, who is averaging 23.2 points -- nearly five more than last season. Ginobili, off to a slow start with 13.8 points per game, did not play in the fourth quarter Friday because of what the team said was a lower back contusion. It's uncertain if he will be able to play Sunday. After facing Seattle -- the only Western Conference team with a sub-.500 road record (2-4) -- San Antonio visits Golden State on Monday before closing this road trip against Utah, the league's only team without a home loss. The SuperSonics (6-8) are coming off a 109-100 home loss to the Sacramento Kings on Friday. Rashard Lewis led the team with 26 points -- 19 in the first half -- and Luke Ridnour added 20. Seattle trailed by as many as 18 points in the fourth quarter and never truly challenged the Kings, who hit 51.2 percent from the field. The Sonics are 1-5 this season when allowing the opposition to shoot 50 percent or better, compared to 5-2 when they don't. "Our defense was like a sieve tonight," coach Bob Hill said. "We were a step behind them all night. It was a bad performance." Ray Allen is coming off one of his worst offensive performances of the season. He was 6-of-22 from the field, tying a season low with 18 points. "There are moments when you don't shoot the ball well, but you can do some other things out there," said Allen, who is averaging 25.9 points. "I've done it my whole life and had bad games, but I don't worry about it. I just think about making the next shot and making the team better." Seattle has lost four of six overall, and four of the past five meetings with the Spurs.