The road is traditionally an unfriendly place in the NBA.
Only six of the league's 28 teams have winning records away from home, but the San Antonio Spurs improved their road mark to 12-5 Monday night with a 111-102 overtime victory over the Philadelphia 76ers.The triumph was the Spurs' ninth in their last 10 road games and only Portland (12-3) has a better mark away from home this season.
"On the road, I don't care how good you are, you have to stay in the game and stay close," said David Robinson, who had 31 points, 16 rebounds and 3 blocked shots. "If you stay close, you have an opportunity to win it. And if you have some opportunities, you'll pull out some at the end."
Philadelphia had a chance to win in regulation, but Charles Barkley, who had 31 points, hit only 1 of 2 free throws to give the 76ers a 96-94 lead with 1:12 left.
That enabled Rod Strickland to tie the score with a pair of free throws with 12.3 seconds to go.
In the extra period, Strickland hit a 3-pointer to give San Antonio the lead for good and Robinson sank 6 straight free throws to enable the Spurs to pull away.
"We stayed in front of guys and made them shoot over us and that was the difference in overtime," said Strickland, who had 21 points. "We all understand what Dave can do. Having a guy like that enables everybody else to feed off him."
The loss was the fifth in six games for Philadelphia, which fell to 4-1 in overtime contests and 13-3 at the Spectrum.
The 76ers scored only 13 points in the fourth quarter as they blew their 9-point lead.
"It was one of those games we could have won," said Hersey Hawkins, who had 30 points. "But you have to give them credit for a good offense. They hit some big shots down the stretch."
Suns 119, Timberwolves 106
At Minneapolis, Kevin Johnson scored 29 points and added 14 assists to lead Phoenix. Johnson scored 10 points in the first four minutes of the fourth quarter to help the Suns halt a two-game losing streak. Minnesota lost its third straight.
Magic 111, Kings 83
At Orlando, Fla., reserve Jerry Reynolds scored 19 points and Otis Smith came off the bench to add 17 for the Magic. Orlando recorded its fourth victory in six games and avenged a 117-108 setback to Sacramento in mid-December.
Mavericks 88, Nets 87
At East Rutherford, N.J., Rolando Blackman hit a 3-point shot with 1. 8 seconds left enabling Dallas to hold off New Jersey. The victory helped the Mavericks snap a three-game losing streak while the Nets dropped their seventh straight.