The Golden State Warriors ensured the San Antonio Spurs wouldn't go undefeated at AT&T Center this season, but the Western Conference's No. 2 seed was able to overcome Sunday's 92-86 loss to the defending champions and make history.
Matched up Tuesday against an Oklahoma City Thunder team that rested Russell Westbrook, Kevin Durant and Serge Ibaka, the Spurs slipped past the West's No. 3 seed, 102-98, in overtime to tie the 1985-86 Boston Celtics for the best home record in league history.
"You know, it's one of the legendary teams with Larry Bird, (Kevin) McHale and (Robert) Parrish," Spurs point guard Tony Parker said, according to the Associated Press (via ESPN.com). "So it's pretty good. It's not easy to lose one game the whole season (at home)."
The Spurs trailed by 16 points midway through the second quarter, but they bounced back to outscore the Thunder, 31-19, in the third frame to take a two-point lead entering the game's final stanza.
However, San Antonio could have avoided playing its first overtime game of the season and logging some unnecessary extra miles.
The Spurs led by five points with one minute, 52 seconds remaining in regulation, but the Thunder went on a 5-0 run to tie things and force the extra session.
Kawhi Leonard carried the load for San Antonio with a game-high 26 points (10-of-20 shooting), five rebounds and five assists, while Parker added 20 points, three dimes and three steals.
The win capped off arguably the most superlative run in league history, as the Spurs broke the 1995-96 Chicago Bulls' previous record of 37 straight wins at home to start a season en route to finishing 40-1.
Beyond the record itself, the Spurs reinforced their dominance in San Antonio by posting gaudy efficiency ratings on their home turf. According to NBA.com's stats database, the Spurs' home net rating of plus-15.4 points per 100 possessions ranks No. 1 overall. In fact, the Warriors (plus-15.1 points per 100 possessions) are the only other team with a home net rating over 10.0.
Here's another mind-boggling fact that hasn't received as much attention: Through 40 road games, the Spurs have the best net rating (plus-8.3) away from home—0.4 points better than the Warriors and 4.1 points better than the third-place Cleveland Cavaliers.
|San Antonio's Efficiency (2015-16 Season)|
|Location||Games||Offensive Rating||Defensive Rating||Net Rating|
Come playoff time, keep that figure in mind.
The Warriors—who can improve to 39-2 at home and 73-9 overall on Wednesday night against the Memphis Grizzlies—are without question the league's toughest out given the historic pace at which they've ripped off wins, but the Spurs can hang plenty tough away from home.
Should the two sides meet up in the Western Conference Finals, expect an epic clash of titans to unfold.