SAN ANTONIO - The Spurs were happy to be home. They felt even better about having Manu Ginobili back in top form.
In an 0-2 hole to the Los Angeles Lakers and in desperate need of a win, San Antonio prevailed, 103-84, Sunday night in Game 3 of the Western Conference finals. The Spurs were led by Ginobili, who scored 30 points after struggling mightily in the first two games.
"We saw a turnaround coming," said Spurs star Tim Duncan, who added 22 points, 21 rebounds, and 5 assists. "To say that we saw him come out and shoot the ball the way he did, can't say that. But we knew he was going to be aggressive. Knew he was going to try to turn this series around for himself."
And for the Spurs, who overcame an 0-2 deficit against the New Orleans Hornets one round ago.
The Lakers still lead the series, 2-1. Game 4 is tomorrow night in San Antonio.
Kobe Bryant led Los Angeles with 30 points and Pau Gasol scored 15. Lamar Odom struggled, finishing 2 of 11 from the field for 7 points. But he had six of the Lakers' 13 assists and 11 rebounds.
The Lakers also had trouble at the line, going just 8 for 17. Bryant went to the line only once.
"We missed a couple foul shots. That's always like a turnover when you do that. Little things that happen," Lakers coach Phil Jackson said. "We just didn't complete plays."
Ginobili hit five of the Spurs' 10 3-pointers to keep the defending champions from falling behind, 0-3, a deficit no NBA team ever has overcome.
San Antonio's super-sub and league's top sixth man - who has a sore ankle and torn fingernail - had just 17 points on 5-of-21 shooting in Games 1 and 2.
"He played great. It was unbelievable. He got us going," said Tony Parker, who added 20 points and five assists. "He hit those 3s. He was very aggressive."
The Spurs are 7-0 at home this postseason. Sunday, they took the lead midway through the second quarter and never looked back, despite a late surge from league MVP Bryant.
"It's a good experience for us to play against the defending champs and have them kick our butts the way they did," Bryant said. "I think we grew up a lot tonight."
The Spurs squandered a 20-point lead to lose Game 1 in Los Angeles and the Lakers routed them in Game 2.
"Probably we had a little more sense of urgency because of the fact of being [down] 2-0," Ginobili said.
Ahead, 69-57, entering the fourth, the Spurs opened with a 12-4 run, and Parker's layup gave them a 20-point lead with a little over eight minutes to play.
Then Bryant did what Bryant does: almost single-handedly pulled his team out of the hole. He hit four 3-pointers in less than 2 1/2 minutes and his last one brought the Lakers to 88-76 with five minutes to play.
But the Lakers would get no closer, not when the Spurs' title defense would be all but ruined with a loss in Game 3.
Duncan answered with a 3-point play to put the Spurs back up by 15 and not long after Brent Barry's steal that resulted in a 3-point play for Ginobili made it 97-78 with 3:26 to go.
"We didn't move the ball very well," Lakers guard Derek Fisher said. "We did have some decent opportunities on the inside, but those shots didn't go in. We didn't shoot the ball terribly, but we didn't move it well enough consistently to get the assists up."
The Spurs shot better than 51 percent (38 of 74) from the field. The Lakers shot nearly 43 percent (35 of 82).