SAN ANTONIO – The San Antonio Spurs begin their annual Rodeo Road Trip Monday night against the Memphis Grizzlies.
Monday night’s game is the first of four regular season matchups between the Southwest Division rivals.
The Spurs swept the Grizzlies in the first round of last year’s NBA playoffs, but Memphis was missing key starters Mike Conley and Marc Gasol.
The Spurs are first in the division with a 39-11 record, second overall in the Western Conference. Memphis is third in the division with a 31-22 record, sixth overall in the conference.
This is the Spurs' 15th Rodeo Road Trip, which began in 2003 when the AT&T Center opened.
The San Antonio Stock Show & Rodeo takes over the AT&T Center every February for nearly three weeks.
According to Spurs.com, more than 400,000 pounds of dirt is trucked into the arena for the rodeo.
The Spurs will travel 7,378 miles this season, play eight teams in seven cities over the course of the 20-day road trip with the NBA All-Star Game in the middle of the trip.
Despite the grueling road schedule, the Spurs have remarkably won 70 percent of their Rodeo Road Trip games and have an overall record of 82-35, according to Spurs.com.
The Spurs went 7-1 last season and have had a winning record or been at .500 in 13 of 14 trips.
Head coach Gregg Popovich and the veteran players have said in the past the trip is generally a bonding experience that provides a chance for teammates and coaches to get to know each other better.
This year's roster features seven new players, who have never embarked on the team trip.
Here’s a look at some more interesting Rodeo Road Trip facts:
- Manu Ginobili holds the record for most points scored in a Rodeo Road Trip game. Manu scored 46 points in 2008 at Cleveland.
- The Spurs’ all-time leading scorer on Rodeo Road Trip games is Tim Duncan with 1,858 points. Tony Parker is second with 1,761 points. (Stats from Spurs.com.)
- The only Spurs losing Rodeo Road Trip was in 2015 when the team went 4-5.
- The first road trip in 2003 was the Spurs’ longest. It covered 9,987 miles in 2003. The Spurs went 8-1 and won the NBA championship that season.
- The Spurs next home game is against Indiana on March 1. San Antonio will play 12 home games in March due to lopsided road schedule this month.
- The March home schedule features big games against Golden State (twice), Cleveland and Houston.
2017 Rodeo Road Trip full schedule (All time Central):
Monday: Memphis, 8:30 p.m.
Wednesday: Philadelphia, 6 p.m.
Friday: Detroit, 6:30 p.m.
Feb. 12: New York Knicks, 2:30 p.m. on ABC/KSAT 12
Feb. 13: Indiana, 6 p.m.
Feb. 15: Orlando, 6 p.m.
Feb. 17-19: All-Star Weekend in New Orleans
Feb. 24: Los Angeles Clippers, 9:30 p.m.
Feb. 26: Los Angeles Lakers, 2:30 p.m.