SAN ANTONIO (AP) -- Manu Ginobili struggled for two games and it seemed he might not have anything left. A sore ankle, a ripped fingernail and plenty of missed shots. All the while, he insisted he would step up for the SAS.
He kept his promise on Sunday night. And nobody on either team was surprised.
"He is such a competitor," SAS coach Gregg Popovich said after Ginobili scored 30 points to lead the SAS to a 103-84 victory over the LAL in Game 3 of the Western Conference finals. "He puts so much on his shoulders, he fights through a lot of things. ... He's got a lot of confidence in what he can do.
"And so when he has these games, it is really not a surprise anymore."
Ginobili hit five of the SAS' 10 3-pointers and got to the rim a few times to keep the defending champions from falling into an 0-3 hole, which no NBA team has ever overcome.
"I was too stagnant in the first two games," said Ginobili, the league's top sixth man who came off the bench on Sunday. "I didn't feel like I was being me. ... I made the first shots. I felt good. And then it was easier for me."
The LAL lead the series 2-1. Game 4 is Tuesday in San Antonio.
Tim Duncan had 22 points, 21 rebounds and five assists, and Tony Parker added 20 points and five assists for the SAS, who remained unbeaten at home this postseason.
Kobe Bryant led the LAL with 30 points and Pau Gasol scored 15.
"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."
Lamar Odom struggled all night, finishing 2-of-11 from the field for seven points. But he had six of the LAL' 13 assists and 11 rebounds.
"On me personally it definitely snowballed," Odom said. "That happens, but sometimes I'd rather go out swinging than being passive. It was just one of those nights."
The LAL also struggled at the free throw line, going just 8-of-17. Bryant went to the line only once.
On Sunday, the SAS got a lead midway through the second quarter and never looked back, despite a late surge from Bryant.
The SAS had squandered a 20-point lead to lose Game 1 in Los Angeles and the LAL routed them in Game 2.
"They were energized and they played with a lot more emotion, a lot more energy than we did," LAL coach Phil Jackson said. "They were quicker to the ball. And it was quite obvious at times."
Up 69-57 entering the fourth, the SAS opened with a 12-4 run, and Parker's layup gave them a 20-point lead with a little over 8 minutes to play.
Then Bryant did what Bryant does: almost single-handedly pulled his team out of the hole. He hit four 3-pointers over the course of less than 2½ minutes and his last one brought the LAL within 88-76 with 5 minutes to play.
But the LAL would get no closer, not when the SAS' title defense would be all but ruined with a Game 3 loss.
Duncan answered with a three-point play to put the SAS back up by 15 and not long after Brent Barry's steal that resulted in a three-point play for Ginobili made it 97-78 with 3:26 to go.
Reserve Jordan Farmar scored 10 points for the LAL.
In the first half, Parker was penetrating the paint, but Ginobili was the big key for the SAS. He had 22 points at the break -- more than the 17 he scored in Games 1 and 2 combined. And whether or not his injured left ankle was bothering him, he didn't need it to explode to the basket because he hit 3 after 3.
After Bryant's driving dunk past Duncan with 4:57 left in the first quarter put the LAL up 15-8, Ginobili hit back-to-back 3s from the same spot on the wing to get the SAS within a point.
"He bounced back the way I thought he would," Bryant said. "He is a phenomenal player and he had a spectacular first half."
He didn't stop in the second quarter.
His second of back-to-back 3s 4½ minutes in put the SAS up 33-30, giving his team the lead for good. Then he got to the rim about 30 seconds later and was fouled. His free throw made it 36-32.
The LAL struggled in the second quarter -- turning the ball over early in the period on a shot-clock violation, missing free throws and shooting 7-of-17 from the field -- and the SAS pulled away.
Ginobili hit his fifth 3 of the night as the shot clock expired with less than a minute left in the first half. The SAS outscored the LAL 28-15 in the second quarter for a 49-39 lead at the break.
Odom was 1-of-7 from the field in the first half and guard Derek Fisher was scoreless.
Odom didn't fare any better in the third, and Gasol and Bryant combined for just 10 points as SAS' defender Bruce Bowen continued to hound this year's league MVP.
Ginobili cooled in the third quarter -- when the SAS went up by as many as 13 -- just as Duncan got hot. Duncan's two jump shots with less than two minutes to play, plus Ginobili's drive that showed he can still get to the rim, gave the SAS a 12-point lead heading into the fourth.
"I don't feel like my last step is as strong as probably a couple months ago, but it's not a big issue," Ginobili said. "I mean, I think I can still finish."