Originally posted on Pro Sports Daily  |  Last updated 6/1/12

For all intents, the Spurs put the Thunder in an elimination game Thursday night. And Oklahoma City responder with the type of effort that San Antonio coach Gregg Popovich could appreciate.

The Spurs' lead in the best-of-seven Western Conference final is 2-1 after the 102-82 loss in Game 3. The fourth game is back in Oklahoma City on Saturday.

"They played really well," Popovich said. "They played like it was a closeout game, both offensively and defensively. They were very active, physical, they moved the ball well on offense, and they did all those things better than we did. They beat us good."

The Spurs, while not exactly thrilled by their effort, weren't about to downplay that the Thunder did. San Antonio lost for the first time in the playoffs, snapping a 20-game winning streak that stretched back into the regular season.

"They were excellent. They were great. They started out strong," Tim Duncan said. "I thought we kind of weathered that storm early on, but they kept it on. They moved the ball well. Defensively they were really solid, they used their length and it really affected what we were doing.

"We expected that kind of response from them in the third game, and we didn't respond really well to that. A lot of the guys didn't play well. I didn't play well. We put it behind us and look forward to the next game. We'll try to watch some film tomorrow, reset, come back and have a better Game 4."

Duncan doesn't think that blowout loss adds to the Spurs' motivation going into Saturday.

"We're in the Western Conference finals, we don't really need motivation," he said. "We are here and we are trying to get to four games. We hoped to win every game in a row in the playoffs but we didn't, so here we go. Game 4, we're going to be ready and we're going to bring it."

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